Ex-Canadian PM Chretien to undergo surgery in HK

Local | Stella Wong 11 Jul 2019

Former Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien was admitted to a Hong Kong hospital after feeling unwell due to a kidney stone.

The Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong yesterday refused to comment on Chretien's medical condition "out of respect for privacy considerations."

Chretien, 85, was scheduled to speak at the US-China Trade and Economic Relations Forum here on Tuesday, but was taken to hospital after landing the previous evening.

His former executive assistant, Bruce Hartley, told media that Chretien has a kidney stone.

"He will return to Canada following treatment to remove it in Hong Kong," Hartley said.

Former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa told attendees at the conference that Chretienwould not be able to make it to the event.

"I want to deliver an apology because Jean Chretien . . . has arrived here very late last night," Tung said. "And we were supposed to have breakfast together. But he has not been well. As a precaution, we have taken him to a hospital . . . We think it is going to be all right. So wish him all the best."

Chretien was Canada's 20th prime minister, serving from 1993 to 2003. He made half a dozen trips to China during his tenure, including leading the first Team Canada trade mission to China in November 1994.

InApril 2016, he made headlines when he met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

"Premier Li noted that China-Canada relations developed into a 'golden decade' during Mr Chretien's administration, and that China appreciates Mr Chretien's contributions to promote the development of China-Canada relations," a statement from China's State Council said.

The Globe and Mail newspaper in Toronto reported that Chretien had suggested the Canadian government stop the extradition caseof Huawei's chief financial officer, Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, to send her to the United States, so as to improve relations with China.

Last month, Chretien's spokesman told local media CBC News that the former leader would be willing to go to China to negotiate the release of two Canadian detainees - Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor - if current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asks him.

stellast.wong@singtaonewscorp.com

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