Canada’s PM will go to APEC

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YUNBI in Beijing zhangyunbi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The visit of Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper to China in Novem­ber was re­con­firmed after spec­u­la­tion that it might be can­celed after re­cent vi­o­lence in Canada.

A se­nior Chi­nese diplo­mat con­firmed that Harper will be in Beijing to at­tend the Novem­ber APEC lead­ers meet­ing.

The con­fir­ma­tion fol­lowed com­ments from Harper’s of­fice this week sug­gest­ing that he had can­celed plans to at­tend the APEC meet­ing in the wake of ter­ror at­tacks in Canada that claimed the lives of two sol­diers.

There was even spec­u­la­tion that Harper would not at­tend the APEC event after re­la­tions with China hit a rocky patch ear­lier this year.

China’s Am­bas­sador to Canada Luo Zhaohui said at a re­cep­tion at his res­i­dence on Wed­nes­day that Harper will pay an of­fi­cial visit and at­tend the an­nual gath­er­ing of the 21 APEC mem­ber economies.

China places pri­or­ity on the China-Canada re­la­tion­ship and firmly be­lieves that Harper’s visit will bring “pos­i­tive re­sults”, Luo said, ac­cord­ing to a China News Ser­vice re­port on Wed­nes­day.

Harper’s of­fice had ini­tially said he would be in Ot­tawa for Canada’s Nov 11 Re­mem­brance Day, which hon­ors the coun­try’s war dead. The date co­in­cides with the APEC meet­ing.

The Novem­ber visit will be Harper’s third to China as prime min­is­ter. For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi told re­porters on Wed­nes­day that Beijing has ev­ery­thing in place to suc­cess­fully host the APEC meet­ing.

Wang high­lighted that Canada’s view of the im­por­tance of the APEC meet­ing was “very strong and clear and has not changed”.

“The Cana­dian gov­ern­ment, es­pe­cially the prime min­is­ter, has placed great em­pha­sis on the event and has made prepa­ra­tions to at­tend the meet­ing,” Wang said.

Wang also noted this sense of shock and grief after the ter­ror at­tacks in Canada and said both coun­tries were work­ing on the de­tails of Harper’s sched­ule.

“There are warn­ings that key Cana­dian pri­or­i­ties will fall by the way­side if Mr. Harper can’t make the trip,” Canada’s Globe and Mail news­pa­per com­mented on Tues­day.

Wang Fan, vice-pres­i­dent of China For­eign Af­fairs Univer­sity, said the Cana­dian prime min­is­ter “has in­deed been fac­ing huge pres­sure” after the rare shoot­ing in his coun­try.

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama missed the APEC sum­mit last year in In­done­sia be­cause of a US gov­ern­ment shut­down.

“Even if Harper fails to at­tend the APEC sum­mit, that would not do a great deal of harm to bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship,” Wang said.

China, Canada’s sec­ond-largest trade part­ner and sec­ond­largest ex­port mar­ket, had $55 bil­lion in bi­lat­eral trade with Canada last year.

The two coun­tries’ co­op­er­a­tive agenda has ac­cel­er­ated in the past few months de­spite iso­lated set­backs.

In Septem­ber, Canada rat­i­fied a for­eign in­vest­ment pro­tec­tion agree­ment with China. year de­lay in a move that could help.

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