China, Canada seek ‘new era’ in relations
CHINA: Canada and China agreed to avoid disputes on
contentious issues and seek a “significant new era” in relations, as
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was set for more talks in Beijing
A joint statement emailed to AFP late Thursday and issued after
separate talks between Harper, on his first official trip to China, and
his hosts President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao laid out the
“The two sides agreed to work together to further promote
China-Canada cooperation in all bilateral areas and international
affairs, as bilateral relations enter a significant new era,” the
Ties between the two sides have languished in recent years as
Harper’s Government has been outspoken in criticising Beijing over its
human rights record and allegations of Chinese spying.
The joint statement bound both sides to respecting each other’s views
on contentious issues such as human rights.
“Both sides acknowledged that differing histories and national
conditions can create some distinct points of view on issues such as
human rights,” it said, adding that they would increase dialogue on the
It also said the two sides pledged to respect each other’s
“sovereignty and territorial integrity, core interests and major
concerns” and acknowledged that each country has “the right to choose
its own path.”
Premier Wen Jiabao appeared to refer to the frosty relations on
Thursday, noting that the last visit by a Canadian leader came five
“Five years is too long for a relationship like ours, and that’s why
there have been comments in the media that this should have taken place
earlier,” he told Harper.
The trip by Harper, who arrived Wednesday, has been viewed as
motivated at least in part by fears in the Canadian business community
that an aloof relationship with China could hurt trade ties.
BEIJING, Friday, AFP