An action plan called for to accompany the new Indo-Pacific strategy

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An action plan called for to accompany the new Indo-Pacific strategy

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly (Archives)

Opposition parties in the House of Commons and geopolitical experts are calling for an action plan to accompany Canada's new Indo-Pacific strategy, unveiled Sunday by Minister Mélanie Joly.

The new strategy has been criticized by some observers, who accuse it of not responding adequately to the needs of this region of the world, but it was above all dismissed out of hand by the ambassador of China in Canada.

However, from the side of the sectors concerned and experts in the field, the reception was more favourable.

This is the most comprehensive foreign policy strategy document we have seen from a Canadian government in a long time, said Roland Paris, who is a former adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

But I would like to better understand how the government will measure if it meets its targets and how it will be held accountable, he added, however.

The Indo-Pacific Strategy, originally due to be released in 2020, will see Canada invest $2.3 billion over the next five years for trade projects and defense in Asia-Pacific. The avowed objective is to counter the rise of China and the document presents the attitude that Ottawa wishes to adopt in its relations with Beijing.

The concrete targets to be reached to confirm the success of this objective are however not specified.

For example, the strategy says the government will hire diplomats, but it doesn't say how many will be added. We must therefore fall back on an earlier statement by Prime Minister Trudeau, who spoke of about sixty new hires.

According to Mr. Paris, who is now director of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa, the objectives set out by Ottawa will be taken seriously only if the government provides more details, particularly with regard to military resources.

There are a number of proposals that are interesting, but require further explanation. For example, what exactly is a commercial door? asks Mr. Paris.

The strategy provides $24 million to establish a hub to help Canadian businesses identify investment opportunities in the region.

Details are not spelled out in the strategy itself, but the office of International Trade Minister Mary Ng on Monday described the trade gateway as a physical space that would be probably located in Singapore.

Curator Michael Chong interviewed behind the scenes.

At the opposition parties, Conservative Foreign Affairs Critic Michael Chong continues his assessment of the strategy, but he reiterated that it will only work if the government does not put it in place. not on a tablet.

Such strategies have already been consigned to oblivion, according to Chong, who cited as an example the liberals' legislation to ban imports of forced Uyghur labor from Xinjiang that , according to him, does not seem to be applied.

“In many ways, the strategy came too late. The government is trying to win back our allies and democratic partners in the region.

— Conservative Foreign Affairs Critic Michael Chong

For its part, the NDP has said it is x27;agreed with the goal of diversifying trade outside of China and deepening climate and human rights work. MP Heather McPherson has vowed to fight to make sure this isn't just another empty promise.

The Bloc Québécois meanwhile stressed that the strategy was crucial, but that it was skeptical that Ottawa would do enough to see results.

The Chinese Ambassador to Canada.

In a speech Monday at the University of Ottawa, Chinese Ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu told students that the Canadian government should stop imitating the United States. and resist the idea of ​​a new cold war.

“Unfortunately, it seems that Canada followed the American practice of creating division and fueling confrontation in the region. »

— Chinese Ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu

In China's view, this has distorted the facts, exacerbated the theory of a so-called Chinese threat and violate China's internal affairs. We strongly oppose it.

Mr. Instead, Cong argued that China presented an opportunity for economic growth, and he argued that Canada sided with a US approach that would only threaten global stability.

Essentially, it attempts to make Asia-Pacific countries pawns of US hegemony, trying to cause tension to upset relations in the Asia-Pacific region, a he mentioned.

These kind of baseless accusations and finger pointing are really not conducive to our future cooperation at all.

Mr. Cong added that he hopes Ottawa finds common ground, abolishes (the) Cold War mentality and promotes Canada-China relations.

Reporters were allowed to attend the speech, but were unable to film it. During the speech, a curtain was lowered to block the view of a protest against China's treatment of Uyghurs taking place on campus.

Mr. Cong's speech was scheduled before the announcement of the new strategy by the federal government.

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