China, a power 'upsetting the world order', warns Ottawa
Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly
On the eve of a diplomatic trip to the Indo-Pacific region, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, is toughening her stance on China, a power that cannot be ignored economically, but which we must also be wary, she says.
In a speech delivered in Toronto on Wednesday, Canada's foreign minister admits: its demographic weight and influence make cooperation with China needed to address global challenges like climate change.
But she also wanted to assure that, when necessary, Canada will not hesitate to confront China, a power which is increasingly upsetting the world order and which seeks to shape the global environment of so that it is more permissive for interests and values that are increasingly distant from ours.
She promises in particular to continue to defend the human rights in China, where credible allegations of abuse and crimes against humanity are well documented, to oppose unilateral actions endangering the status quo in Taiwan and to defend freedom of expression in Hong Kong.
The minister even spoke to Canadians who have economic interests in China.
“You have to see clearly […] My job is to tell you that there are geopolitical risks linked to do business with the country.
— Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada
She promises that Ottawa will help them diversify and mitigate risks in the region.
How then, in a context where Canada wants to deepen its ties with the Indo-Pacific countries, not to alienate this giant who is at the heart of the region?
< p class="e-p">I am announcing today that we are investing in deepening our understanding of how China thinks, operates and plans; how it exerts its influence in the region and in the world.
This $50 million investment will notably go to key Canadian embassies to send dedicated experts to deepen our understanding of China's challenges and opportunities.
However, according to the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Pierre Poilievre, the Liberal government should focus on the allegations of foreign interference by the Chinese government in the Canadian elections.
I have not seen any action by the government to defend Canadian democracy in the face of this kind of interference, he said during a press briefing in Vancouver on Wednesday morning. I think Justin Trudeau needs to explain why he knew and did nothing.
We need a government that stands up for human rights and freedom and who defends Canadian interests in an increasingly dangerous world, he added.
Through its embassy, China reacted to Mélanie Joly's statements on the strategy envisaged by Ottawa.
The Chinese Embassy spokesperson believes that Ms. Joly's speech contains a lot of negative China-related content that distorts the truth, exaggerates the so-called Chinese threat. This, according to the spokesperson, constitutes gross interference in China's internal affairs, adding that his country is deeply concerned about this and firmly opposes it.
As an important country in the Asia-Pacific region, Canada should respond to public opinion and adopt policies that are genuinely in the interest of Canada and the countries of the region, rather than following the lead of a certain country, creating division and fomenting confrontation in the region, the statement read.
According to the Embassy, the speech of the Minister of Foreign Affairs will not only damage the image and interests of Canada, but will also be detrimental to peace, stability and development in the region. ;Asia-Pacific.
The spokesperson concluded his statement by suggesting that Canada consider the overall situation of China-Canada relations and peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and get back on track.
Mélanie Joly and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon fly to Asia, where they will attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.
The purpose of this trip for Canada is, according to Minister Joly, to be clear about how it will be engaged, how we will be leaders on the world stage, by deepening our existing friendships and seeking new allies.
These allies include the Indo-Pacific region, the region with the fastest economic growth, says Joly. By 2040 – in less than two decades – it will account for more than half of the global economy, more than twice that of the United States.
“All issues that matter to Canadians – security, economic prosperity, democratic values, health, the environment, women's rights, human rights – will be shaped by the relationships that Canada and its allies and partners will engage with Indo-Pacific countries.
— Mélanie Joly, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mélanie Joly did not explain Canada's Indo-Pacific strategy in detail, but she did reveal her five main objectives:
- Promote peace and security in the region;
- Improve trade, investment and supply chains;
- Investing in the bonds between our respective peoples and continuing to defend human rights;
- Supporting the fight against climate change;
- Deepening Canada's relations in the region.
With information from Louis Blouin