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Speech by Mélanie Joly | Canada’s future Indo-Pacific strategy will distance itself from China



(OTTAWA) Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly is advising Canadian companies not to deepen their ties with China, as Ottawa’s long-awaited Indo-Pacific strategy is expected to be unveiled within a month.

In a speech Wednesday morning in Toronto, Joly said Canada wants to deepen its ties with more democratic and reliable countries in the region, such as India.

“The tectonic plates of global power structures are shifting,” Joly in a speech at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. Canada should be clear about how we intend not just to engage, but to lead. »

The Canadian Foreign Service group will thus be responsible for training more experts in Chinese affairs and placing them in “key embassies” around the world. “This will become the focus of our diplomatic efforts,” Pretty.

The minister argued that China was increasingly deviating from Canadian values ​​and that companies doing business there therefore faced risks of political interference and violation of trade rules. “China is an increasingly disruptive global power,” Pretty.

Canada, she said, can work with China on issues such as climate change and will continue to engage with that country, but Ottawa has serious concerns that Beijing will undermine security, trade and peace in the country. world.

“Canada will not apologize for its national interests. We will not apologize for seeking to uphold the global rules that govern international trade, human rights around the world,” she said.

This stance is based in particular on “credible accounts of human rights violations and crimes against humanity” in the Xinjiang region against the Muslim Uyghur minority.

Mme Joly also spoke about Canada’s current military presence in the region. She suggested that more focus could be placed on containing China’s maritime borders and deterring any invasion of Taiwan by Beijing.

Hardening after “the two Michaels”

The remarks represent a major turning point for liberals, who usually tried to avoid hostile rhetoric toward Beijing, as China arbitrarily detained Canadian nationals Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig for nearly three years.

“What I would like to say to Canadians doing business in China and with China: be lucid,” said Joly, pointing out “the geopolitical risks of doing business with this country”.

The speech, sponsored by the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada, a government think tank, portends increased federal spending on diplomatic missions.

“We must both deepen our existing friendships and seek out new allies,” said Joly, citing India by name. We need to be at the table, step up our game and increase our influence. »

Mme Joly also said Wednesday that the Canadian government’s Indo-Pacific strategy would be unveiled within a month. Business leaders and former diplomats were pushing Ottawa to develop such a strategy for this part of the globe, which the Liberals have repeatedly promised in recent years.

Mme Joly unveiled five key objectives of this strategy on Wednesday: peace, supply chain resilience, human and women’s rights, climate change, and increasing Canada’s presence in the world.

Mme Joly will accompany Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on an official trip to the region starting Thursday, with summits in Cambodia and Indonesia, but she will not be making the trip to Thailand.

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