China denounced Canada on Tuesday for "irresponsible" remarks after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused it of "arbitrarily" sentencing a Canadian to death for drug smuggling, aggravating already icy relations.
The two countries have been at odds since early December, when Canadian police arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, on a U.S. extradition request as part of an investigation into suspected violations of U.S. trade sanctions.
Days later, China detained two Canadians on suspicion of endangering state security - former diplomat Michael Kovrig and business consultant Michael Spavor.
Monday's death sentence for Canadian Robert Schellenberg for smuggling 222 kg of methamphetamines has become the latest strain on ties.
China has not linked any of the three Canadians' cases to Meng's arrest but has warned of severe consequences if she was not immediately released.
Trudeau said it should be of "extreme concern" to Canada's friends and allies, as it was to Canada's government, that China had chosen to "arbitrarily apply" the death penalty.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, speaking at a regular news briefing, expressed "strong dissatisfaction" with the comments.
"The remarks by the relevant Canadian person lack the most basic awareness of the legal system," Hua said.
Taking Canada to task for issuing an updated travel advisory warning its citizens about the risk of arbitrary enforcement of laws in China, Hua said that Canada should instead remind its people to not engage in drug smuggling there.
"We urge the Canadian side to respect the rule of law, respect China's legal sovereignty, correct its mistakes, and stop making irresponsible remarks," Hua said.
Hours later, the ministry issued its own travel warning.
Citing the "arbitrary detention" of a Chinese national in Canada at the request of a "third-party country", it urged its citizens to "fully evaluate risks" and exercise caution when traveling there.