BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s foreign ministry has asked Canada to investigate pests found in shipments of logs, spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters at a daily briefing on Tuesday.

The move coincides with strained relations between China and Canada since the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of telecoms firm Huawei, in December 2018.

Last year, citing pest concerns, Beijing blocked canola seed shipments from Richardson International and Viterra Inc – Canada’s two top exporters.

It also suspended imports of pork and beef from the country last year, although they later resumed.

Zhao said some Chinese port authorities had detected pests in imported Canadian logs that were not permitted under Chinese quarantine rules.

Beijing had asked Canada to investigate and take measures to resolve the issue, he said.

“Protecting China’s agriculture and forestry industries, as well as its ecological safety is the Chinese government’s obligation,” said Zhao.

The move was “scientific and reasonable” and in line with international conventions, he added.

No one at the Canadian embassy in Beijing nor the consulate in shanghai could immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Huizhong Wu; writing by Dominique Patton; editing by Barbara Lewis)