Canada's PM Trudeau tries to strengthen China ties with visit

Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:35pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make an official week-long visit to China to build closer ties between the two countries, his office said on Thursday.

During the Aug. 30 to Sept. 6 trip, Trudeau will also attend the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China and make stops in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

"On this trip, I will strive for a closer, more balanced relationship between Canada and China," he said in a statement.

Trudeau's father Pierre established diplomatic relations with China in 1970 while he was prime minister. During his 2015 election campaign, Justin Trudeau pledged to expand trade with China.

But a number of outstanding issues have threatened to strain relations between Beijing and Ottawa.

Talks between Canadian and Chinese officials ended last week without China backing down from plans to toughen its inspection standard for canola, a major export for Canada.

Canada has also pressed the case of Canadian citizen Kevin Garratt who was indicted in China on charges of spying and stealing state secrets earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Canada's push for closer trade ties with China has slowed amid unease with the extent of economic access Beijing is asking for and its human rights record.

During a June trip to Ottawa, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi lost his temper and berated a Canadian journalist who had asked about human rights in China, prompting the government to complain to China about his behavior.   Continued...

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question from a journalist during an event at a restaurant in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada, July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Wattie