Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What Do People Think on Harper’s Trip to China


Three years after taking office as the Prime Minister of Canada, Harper finally boarded on the airplane to China for his official visit from Dec. 2 to 6, 2009. Some analysts think that the relationship between the two countries is going out of the ice age.

According to Chinese media, Canada has begun to gradually take the initiative to "mend" relations with China since a few months ago. April 7 of 2009, the Canadian International Trade Minister Stockwell Day launched a 7-day visit to China. He signed with Chinese side a number of science and technology agreements and construction contracts, He also took part in the opening ceremony of a new Canadian trade office in China. The analysts said it could be clearly seen that Dye's visit in April 2009 to China indicated Canada's policy to China has been under a major adjustment, from the original ideology to present practice.

Harper’s late visit to China has drawn fires domestically from oppositions. Former Prime Minister Jean Chretien criticized Canadian foreign policy in Oct. 2009, saying a planned trip to China by Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been too long in coming. The former prime minister, a liberal, said he believes Canada has abandoned Africa and neglected China in its foreign policy.

To the criticism from liberals, the conservative government retorted that there has been 18 ministerial-level visits to China since Harper's minority government was first elected in 2006.

However, according to CBC of Canada, we could see Canadian relations with China were strained during Harper's tenure due to the following three things,

In 2006, Parliament unanimously adopted a motion giving honorary Canadian citizenship to the Dalai Lama.

In 2007, Harper warned China not to threaten Canada with economic repercussions for bringing up China's human rights record and standing up for the rights of Canadians abroad.

Harper was referring to the case of Huseyin Celil, a Canadian activist jailed in China for alleged terrorist links.

Now let us pay our attentions to China. To Harper’s visit, Chinese folks have their own opinions, which could be mainly summarized as follows,

First, Canada tries to find a new partner to reduce its loss on U.S.

Recently the outlook of the U.S. economy is not good. The United States only buy American policy built trade barriers between U.S. and its neighboring countries including Canada. Therefore, Canada needs to find a new partner. Russia lost money due to low oil prices, and Europe has no money due to recession. Canada has to pick its partners among only a few developing countries. Among the several developing Countries, only China is the best trading partner. Some Chinese folks believe the global situation has forced the Canadian Prime Minister to China.

Second, Canada tries to achieve the currency swap with China

China has implemented currency swaps with South Korea, Japan, ASEAN countries, the Middle East, the European Union. Canada is the only country, which has not sign an agreement with China to store Chinese currency RMB. To prevent from possible revaluation of Chinese RMB in the future, Canada needs to store large sums of RMB to reduce the risk from China. Chinese folks also believe Harper to China is trying to reach agreement on currency swap with their country.

China is Canada's third-largest export destination, after the United States and the United Kingdom. What Harper will bring back from China, Canadians are watching.