Canadian officials are citing national security to block a Chinese government-owned company from acquiring an Arctic gold mine that has its own port and air strips.
The Shandong Gold Mining Co. said Tuesday that Canadian regulators blocked the firm from purchasing TMAC Resources Inc, which owns the Hope Bay facility in Nunavut territory in Canada’s desolate far north.
The Chinese company said in a statement that the Canadian Investment Review Bureau rejected the proposed $150 million deal Friday “for the purpose of safeguarding national security.”
The Trump administration has urged US allies to be wary of Chinese investment and espionage.
Canada this year effectively blocked Chinese telecom giant Huawei from a role in the country’s 5G wireless network following a global US lobbying campaign arguing the company could facilitate surveillance.
China-Canada relations soured in 2018 when authorities arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou for extradition to the US on charges relating to business with Iran.
Chinese courts in August sentenced two Canadians to death for drug smuggling following Meng’s arrest in proceedings decried as unfair potential retaliation.
Globally, US allies have taken a tougher approach toward China amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Chinese Communist Party officials concealed early data before the virus spread and became an economically ruinous and deadly pandemic.
This year, the US sanctioned Chinese officials for eliminating political autonomy in Hong Kong and for mistreatment of Uyghur Muslim minorities. President-elect Joe Biden said he won’t immediately end President Trump’s more than two year-long trade war with China when he takes office. Trump sought to use tariffs to reform trade policies.
“I’m not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs. I’m not going to prejudice my options,” Biden said this month.