Politics

Trudeau says Kevin Garratt's release brings 'tremendous potential' for stronger Canada-China relations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking days after a Canadian man was released from prison in China, said on Saturday there was "tremendous potential" for stronger and more stable ties with the Asian country.

Prime minister says time is ripe for a 'a stronger, more stable relationship with China'

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a news conference following tat the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria in Montreal, where he said the recent return of B.C.'s Kevin Garratt to Canada is a sign that Canada and China could build a stronger relationship. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking days after a Canadian man was released from prison in China, said on Saturday there was "tremendous potential" for stronger and more stable ties with the Asian country.

Trudeau won a diplomatic coup last week after China deported Kevin Garratt, who had been detained for two years on allegations of spying.

The release came shortly after Trudeau's official visit to China earlier this month and ahead of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's arrival in Canada next week.

Asked whether Canada is open to more investment from China, which is seeking a free trade deal with Canada and more relaxed investment rules, Trudeau said there was scope for closer ties.

"What we have demonstrated [with the official visits] is that there is tremendous potential for a stronger, more stable relationship with China than there has been for Canada in the past," he told reporters on the sidelines of a global health conference.

Garratt, who was arrested in 2014, was charged in January with spying and stealing state secrets, convicted on Tuesday, released on bail and then deported to Canada on Thursday.

Kevin and wife Julia Garratt reunited at Vancouver airport on Thursday. (Garratt family)

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