U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters Thursday that he will do whatever he can to help Canada amid a diplomatic rift with China.
The president made the statement while appearing alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a Washington, D.C., press conference. Trudeau is in the U.S. capital to discuss issues such as the signing of the new NAFTA and China relations.
“Anything I can do to help Canada, I will be doing,” Trump said, noting that he would be willing to personally bring up Canada’s concerns during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping — if Trudeau asks.
Trudeau, sitting beside Trump at the time, nodded.
Trump is scheduled to meet with Xi at the G20 summit in Japan next week.
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Later on Thursday, Trudeau side-stepped questions from reporters on whether he would ask Trump to bring up the issue. The prime minister instead said that he had “extensive conversations” with Trump about China, and discussed “potential paths forward.”
Relations between China and Canada have been tense since the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou last December.
Since the arrest, China has detained several Canadians, including Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who are still in custody.
China has also placed trade limits on Canadian products, such as canola.
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During the press conference, the two leaders also touched on several other topics.
Trudeau’s trip to Washington, including his third Oval Office visit since Trump was elected in 2016, is aimed primarily at pushing the new North American trade deal over the finish line in both countries.
But the two leaders say they will also discuss the situation with Iran, whose Revolutionary Guard shot down a U.S. surveillance drone on Thursday morning, deepening a conflict between the U.S. and Iran.
While Trump discussed Mexico border concerns during the press conference with Trudeau, the prime minister said that Canada will not be weighing in on the “bilateral” issue.
—With files from the Canadian Press