Friday, February 03, 2012

Prime Minister Harper's Statement on Canada-China Relations to National Post Today

We've always been very clear that when it comes to all countries, and particularly dealing with an emerging superpower like China that a relationship be balanced across the range of issues. There are not just economic and trade issues when it comes to the Chinese relationship. There are also security issues, and there are also human rights and democratic issues. And we've always been clear that we will speak our mind on these things, we will be very frank with the Chinese leadership about our concerns. And that's what we've always done. And I think as you will recall, when we came to office, the argument of many, some of our opponents and many outside that, was that you simply could not raise or keep these issues on the agenda and pursue a good economic relationship. I think that's proven to be false. As you see, if anything our trade and investment has increased more quickly under this government and we have continued to express our concerns, and will continue to do so. I think the Chinese, at first, were not used to that approach from Canada. They expected that Canada would not vocalize any issues that were the least bit troubling to them. That was the approach they were used to from the government. I think now they understand that this is a government that has somewhat of a different agenda, that we have a more balanced approach across a range of issues, that we are clearer and more outspoken on foreign policy than our predecessors. But at the same time we are also committed to mutually beneficial economic relations. And that's what we are going to pursue.

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