“The president has alienated Canada, the president has alienated Europe by use of the national security waivers,” Kaine told Global News on Thursday in reference to the U.S. justification for imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum.
“This is another instance of hurting our allies, and then it’s harder to go into those negotiations with China one-on-one than it is to go in together with allies who have the same concerns,” he told Global News Washington Bureau Chief Jackson Proskow.
Trump said on Tuesday he would intervene in the case against Meng, chief financial officer for the Chinese telecom giant Huawei, if it would help secure a trade deal with Beijing.
“If I think it’s good for the country, if I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made — which is a very important thing — what’s good for national security — I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary,” Trump said in an interview with Reuters in the Oval Office.
Meng was arrested on Dec. 1 in Vancouver and faces extradition to the U.S. over allegations of bank fraud.
China confirmed Thursday that it has detained two Canadian men, entrepreneur Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig. They were taken into custody Monday on suspicion of “engaging in activities that endanger the national security” of China, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.
WATCH: Ottawa loses contact with Canadian questioned in China
Despite the escalating frictions resulting from the detentions, trade talks between Beijing and the Trump administration remain ongoing. The two sides have taken pains this week to emphasize that their trade talks are entirely separate from the U.S. case against Meng and any retaliatory moves by Beijing.
Kaine said the president is right to recognize the economic “threat” posed by China, but said, “The best way to deal with China on trade issues is to link arms with allies and then put pressure on together.”
— With files from Jackson Proskow, the Associated Press and Reuters