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News ID: 45570
Publish Date: 16:43 - 27 March 2020
Canadian authorities say a plan by the US government to send troops to an area near the border between the two countries amid a new coronavirus outbreak would be highly unwelcome in Ottawa.

Canada strongly opposed to planned US deployment near border: Deputy PMDeputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Thursday that the planned deployment, which aims to catch illegal migrants suspected of having coronavirus, would seriously hurt a close friendship between the two neighboring countries. 

“This is an entirely unnecessary step, which we would view as damaging to our relationship,” said Freeland, adding, “Canada is strongly opposed to this US proposal and we've made that opposition very, very clear to our American counterparts.”

The strong note of protests came a day after reports suggested that the US military is planning to send a contingent of nearly 1,000 troops to an area 30 kilometers off the currently-closed border with Canada to help customs and border officials monitor migrant crossings. 

Washington has yet to finalize the decision which would also include a deployment of smaller size to the southern border with Mexico. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said Thursday that Ottawa would push back against the idea which would impact movement across the world's longest border at 8,900 kilometers (5,500 miles).

“Canada and the United States have the longest un-militarized border in the world. And it is very much in both of our interests for it to remain that way. We have been in discussions with the United States on this,” he said. 

Freeland, Trudeau’s deputy, said Washington would be free to make its own choice on the issue amid a serious outbreak of the new coronavirus in the United States. 

However, she said such deployment would be scientifically unreasonable and would only be an affront to a long-time military ally. 

“Of course, it's up to you to decide for yourselves. And we've said we really don't think this is the right way to treat a trusted friend and military ally,” said Freeland.

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