On August 2, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland met her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. This was the first time the two had spoken since Canadian authorities arrested Meng Wanzhou in December. But does this mean that there has been progress?

MLI Senior Fellow Charles Burton spoke to CBC Power & Politics to discuss the importance of this meeting. “I think it’s a lot better that Chrystia Freeland has been able to get a meeting with her Chinese counterpart,” says Burton. He also adds that “Neither country has an ambassador in place in the other’s capital,” which means any communication between the two sides is a good sign.

Of course, China has been trying to engage through Canadians who they regard as sympathetic to their interests. Burton points to the statements by former prime ministers Brian Mulroney and Jean Chrétien, André Desmarais, President and Co-CEO of the Power Corporation of Canada and honorary chairman of the Canada-China Business Council, as well as former Ambassador to China John McCallum.

“The Chinese government may be realizing that they really have to deal with our foreign minister if they want to make any progress on this file.”

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