Chinese president's Canada visit to boost ties

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, June 23, 2010
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Chinese President Hu Jintao will start his Canada visit on Wednesday, leaving open opportunities for unprecedented cooperation between the two countries, according to local China watchers.

Prior to the G20 summit in Toronto this weekend, Hu's second official state visit to Canada will feature discussions on the country's abundant natural resources, the finalization of the Approved Destination Status (ADS), Asia-Pacific trade, climate change issues and cultural exchanges.

"They will also talk about relationship building," said Richard Lee who currently sits in the British Columbia legislature as the Parliamentary Secretary for the Asia-Pacific Initiative.

"That's important as Asia-Pacific is Canada's major area for the future. How to strengthen those relations is important for our economy, especially for a province like British Columbia where we have the Asia-Pacific Gateway program."

Hu's visit to Canada comes six months after Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's inaugural trip to China last December. The visit by the Canadian leader came nearly four years after he took office.

According to Professor Earl Drake, a former Canadian ambassador to China from 1987 to 1990, the delayed visit by Harper had more to do with Canada's internal politics.

Drake said that Harper's visit and Hu's timely reciprocal trip had brought the relationship back on the track, as 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the two countries.

"Up until that point (of Harper's visit), ever since we initiated diplomatic relations with China, it had been a non-partisan issue in China. It didn't matter whether the Conservatives or the Liberals were in power, everybody was in favor of relations with China … It was kind of a rude interruptions for those of us who had worked on that for so many years to see this hiatus, but I think we have overcome this."

"I think things are now back on the rail," he said.

Calling the current situation a "positive atmosphere" for the two leaders to hold discussions on issues including the ADS agreement to allow the Chinese visitors to travel to Canada, Drake wanted to see expanded ties between universities in the two countries as they were developing future leaders.

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