While everyone is up in arms over the story of a Chinese reporter being denied the right to ask questions of Harper following some sort of shoving incident, perhaps what is a far more important story of Sino-Canadian relations has gone by the wayside.
As reported in the Chinese newspaper People’s Daily Online http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90883/8376276.html , Chinese defence minister Chang Wanquan and Canadian Defence Minister Rob Nicholson held talks on Thursday and signed an initiative following their meetings.
Chang said military relations between China and Canada have maintained a sound momentum of development, as evidenced by frequent contacts between military leaders of the two sides, and their smooth and close coordination on global and regional issues.
Meanwhile, continuous progress has been made in bilateral military cooperation, such as in military training, international peace-keeping, defense education and mutual visits by warships, he said.
Chang also said China is ready to work with Canada to enhance their military ties by promoting high-level exchanges, strengthening strategic mutual trust, deepening pragmatic exchanges and cooperation, and reinforcing multilateral coordination.
Nicolson said he is glad to see the two militaries have engaged in positive interactions. He said, as Canada and China share common interests in many issues, militaries of the two countries need to promote dialogue and deepen cooperation in a bid to push their relations forward continuously.
After the meeting, Chang and Nicolson signed an initiative, under which the two countries agreed to promote high-level military exchanges and establish a defence coordination dialogue mechanism. Also on Thursday, Chang held talks with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird.
This comes following two events of note earlier this year: the keynote speech given by Ambassador Zhang Junsai at a luncheon in Calgary hosted by Alberta Oil Magazine( May 30th, 2013) , and the historic visit and meetings of Peter Mackay with Chinese defense minister Chang Wanquan a few days later in Beijing. ( June 2nd, 2013)
At the luncheon hosted by Alberta Oil Magazine in May, Amabassador Zhang Junsai offered several insights into both China’s investment and resource strategy, as well as how they view Canada’s resources.
The speech, is a compelling read regardless of the forum in which it was presented. Here is an excerpt, but I suggest you read the entire speech :
No.5, People should have more objective and square perceptions of Chinese investments in Canada.
The debate about the Nexen deal last year left me with the impression that the public opinion environment for Chinese investments in Canada are yet favorable.
I wish to stress two facts regarding the Chinese investments.
The first one is that China is a market economy, and China’s state-owned enterprises, such as CNOOC, are independent market players, whose investments in Canada’s energy sector, just like in other countries, are sheer market-driven decisions.
While investing here, they have made due contribution to local employment, community development and fulfilled their social responsibilities.
In fact, China-Canada energy cooperation can’t go fast without the SOEs, because almost all the big energy companies in China are SOEs, and those with clear strength in capital and technologies are also SOEs.
This is determined by China’s system.
The second one is that the Chinese investors did not come to Canada to grab this country’s wealth of resources.
The major motive driving them here is to optimize the portfolio of their overseas investments and learn the best technology and management know-hows, just like everyone else.
Some of you may have contacts or even cooperation with Chinese companies and I believe most of them have left you with nice impression.
Of course, the responsibility to improve public image depends mainly on the good practices and effective PR by the Chinese investors.
I still hope that you can help explain to the Canadian people with your own experience that what China wants in its energy cooperation with Canada is nothing but a win-win scenario.
In conclusion, I wish the energy cooperation between China and Canada continue to score better and more achievements in the future so as to inject more positive energy to this important partnership between our two great countries. And again, I congratulate you all for your great performance which has made you so outstanding. Thank you.
Is this latest meeting that has not been largely reported by media outlets yet, cause for concern? Ultimately, time will tell, but it shows yet another example of Harpers turnabout on his attitude and relationship with the Chinese government, and Sino-Canadian policies.