Chinese Premier Li visits Canada following UNGA

World Today

Photo by Xinhua

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in the Canadian capital, Ottawa. It’s the second of his three stops in the Americas this week, and follows a visit to China earlier this month by Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The two will meet on Parliament Hill on Thursday to discuss strengthening bilateral ties.

CCTV America’s Roee Ruttenberg has more from Ottawa.

When they met less than three weeks ago in China, there was formality, fanfare, and friendliness. Back home, Trudeau was being pressed to improve ties with the world’s second biggest economy.

Geng Tan, from Trudeau’s ruling Liberal Party, is the first Chinese-born member of the Canadian parliament.

“Canada has fallen behind, in terms of trade, in terms of relations, in terms of import and export. And for the past ten years, we didn’t do much to promote the bilateral relationship with China,” Tan said.

It was Trudeau’s father, Pierre, nearly half a century ago, who as then Prime Minister, established ties with China. Now, it is his son who must oversee what many are calling the Second Golden Era in Cross-Pacific relations.

Earlier this month, Chinese and Canadian firms signed more than a billion dollars’ worth of deals, covering everything from seafood to clean technology. Some argue: there’s still room for much more.

In the past, Chinese acquisitions in Canada have proved controversial, with many Canadians said they were suspicious of China’s interests. That thinking, some said, has now evolved.

China has also been pushing for a bilateral free-trade agreement with Canada, something Ottawa has said it would be open to, in theory, but would take some time. In China, Trudeau did announce Canada’s intention to join the new Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the first North American country to do so. It was a move welcomed by Beijing as a step in the right direction.