OTTAWA: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will travel to China for an official visit at the end of August aimed at boosting diplomatic and trade ties, his office announced on Thursday (Friday in Manila).
The August 30 to September 6 trip will include stops in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong where Trudeau will meet with political and business leaders. His staff did not identify the people he will be meeting.
Trudeau will also travel to Hangzhou for the summit of leaders of the Group of 20 economic powers on September 4 and 5.
In addition, he will try to mingle with the “public at large” in China, likely posing for selfies with locals as he has done everywhere he has gone since being elected to Canada’s highest office last year, according to his staff.
“On this trip, I will strive for a closer, more balanced relationship between Canada and China — one that unlocks the untapped potential in our two countries’ commercial ties, and advances important issues like good governance, the rule of law and the environment,” Trudeau said in a statement.
The trip is being made at the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang.
It comes less than two months after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s berating of a Canadian reporter while visiting Ottawa provoked a public outcry and led Canada to lodge a formal complaint with Beijing.
A visibly irritated Wang Yi told a reporter during a news conference that she had “no right” to question Beijing’s human rights record.
The reporter had asked Canada’s foreign minister about what Canada was doing to pressure China over human rights and its holding of a Canadian man on espionage charges.
Despite an apparent eagerness on both sides to grow their trade relationship, Sino-Canadian ties have been strained by the detention of Canadian citizen Kevin Garratt in 2014 on espionage charges. He had run a Christian-themed coffee shop near the North Korean border.
According to Canadian government figures, China is Canada’s second-largest trading partner after the United States, with exchanges topping Can$85 billion ($66.5 billion) last year.
Canada is also hoping to increase the number of Chinese students and tourists coming to the country.