Canada signs initiative with China to “promote high level military exchanges”

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 , 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.

23 thoughts on “Canada signs initiative with China to “promote high level military exchanges”

  1. Stephen Harper hands key of the tar sands to Chiina.
    Jan 30/2012

    China investors corporation eyes BC’s forests, spells FIPA danger
    Dec 14/2012

    China trade a, 31 year ball and chain on Canada
    Oct 19/2012

    China buying up Canada’s farms

    Harper mulls massive Chinese resources project in Arctic

    People in this country refuse to wake up, to Harper’s evil treachery.


  2. Good piece.
    This line from the Speech, pretty much says it all…..

    “Many people have even started to talk about North America’s potential of becoming the new Middle East.”

    Think about that one……


  3. People voted for stevie slime and his slimers and now they will have to live with the repurcussions. Of course stevie wants the chinese military to become more “friendly” with the Canadian military. Perhaps he can outsource our military to the Chinese government.

    Harper told Canadians they wouldn’t recognize Canada when he was finished and he is right. We will have become a province of China. Perhaps stevie slime is just interested in how the Chinese military is used in supression of political dissent.


  4. The ‘bottlenecks’ the speaker was referring to is no doubt the opposition to the Northern Gateway Project. Regardless of what Christy Clark thinks or does, British Columbians are not going to allow the Enbridge Pipeline into B.C. And don’t get me started on the LNG projects!

    What scares me most are these ‘high-level military exchanges’. What are we supposed to take from that report?


  5. Everybody’s worried that if we keep bending over for China, one day they’ll start calling the shots—y’know, like infringing on our sovereignty. Heck, maybe it was them that told Steve to replace Peter Mackay in Defence, who’s only qualification was betraying the Progressive Conservatives to his new Reform-a-CRAP master. Maybe it was finally time to call that debt square but it’s hard to imagine Peter having as much fun with toy barristers as with toy soldiers—wigs and gowns don’t really go with manly fishing trips, big guns and choppers. Good thing for Steve, though, it turned out really easy to improve upon the ministry’s competence by appointing Rob Nicholson, who’d proved in his former portfolio his hard-ass, neo-right loyalty—what better counterpart to the ethically and environmentally challenged totalitarian state of China? Exchanging Defence for Justice, Mackay has so far proved he can read aloud scripted (probably by Nicholson) rejoinders to Justin Trudeau’s marijuana bait.

    Presenting a new Defence minister makes sense in light of quickening bonds between The People’s Republic and Harper’s Conservative government but one does have to wonder if something might get lost in translation when Peter has to explain how something called “Delgamuukw” (a Supreme Court decision about a Constitutional matter in a free and democratic sovereign state) can be the primary obstacle to diluted bitumen wending its way across BC from its Albetarian source and on to China (an unfree, undemocratic, totalitarian state), especially when the Middle Kingdom has bought and paid for the concessions of Albetar. Such a thing would never be allowed in China. We’ll have to wait and see how the brainy Peter Mackay will handle that one.

    Meanwhile, Defence is increasingly interesting because it is essentially about strategy, and that, aside from disqualifying the former minister, is what has been overshadowed by all the environmental, economic and political thunderheads that have billowed up from the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal; the strategic aspects are seldom mentioned yet Canada effectively proposes to facilitate China bidding up the price of bitumen against its chief strategic rival, the United States, which, in addition to needing fossil fuel, just happens to be our next door neighbour and the most powerful nation on the planet—ever. Probably a good thing we’re still on friendly terms but the Americans could staunch an itty-bitty pipeline pretty quick if they had to.


    1. This development is “Cuba North” and will rightly create deep anxiety in the US. Don;t be surprised if there is a new version of the “bay of pigs” launched, only more likely to succeed this time because a lot of Canadains will probably help our neighbors in such an endevor..


      1. That is also the other ‘irony’. Red Communist totalitarian China is reporting on their system’s corruption. And they are prosecuting the evil-doers. Canada? Not so much. Well, not at all, really. The US? Their corrupt people just get bigger homes and celebrity status! Or elected to another term. With the exception of the readers of a few small voices (Rafe, Tyee, etc.) the Canadian people know nothing and worse, do nothing. The CBC has been eviscerated to the point of idiocy. Global is bought and paid for. And those small voices are simply not loud enough to change anything!!


        1. Yes, even though the ‘prosecutions’ for party members amount to nothing much but a wealthy retirement….. At least there is the illusion of an attempt at addressing the obvious.

          Here, not so much. Pay back the money, step down or voluntarily resign, golden parachute… blah blah blah.

          This was the top post of 2012 on this site.

          As far as I can see- and I have been calling for this for years here- there is ample reason to start an active anti-corruption squad here in BC, and Canada wide.

          I have yet to see a politician of any stripe, left or right, join in that call.


  6. Geez. Why does Canada have to sign an “agreement” to have high level “military exchanges”?
    All we have to do is invade their airspace with one fighter jet to accomplish that!
    Oh wait, our f-18 jets cant reach China.

    Never mind………..


      1. We don’t have aircraft carriers. And we can’t fly the new jets-to-come even across our own country due to lack of range. So, who we gonna attack? The only real purpose of them would be to attack the US. Not a good idea- the US have the spare parts not to mention 1000 times the number of weapons and troops. So, exactly why would we have fighter jets? Maybe to keep our own people in line? Maybe as a ‘kickback’ to the US for oil? Maybe there is no reason for them? Duh! And, even if there was, wouldn’t search and rescue helicopters that were actually functioning be a priority? Or coast guard ships? Or even a good working passenger rail? Or even a national 4-lane road? Mind you, this is the same bunch o’ nutbars that bought submarines and put ’em up on land where they are currently a’rusting. The same guys who appointed the Senators of Spend. Corruption Canada, we stand on guard for thee!


        1. I think originally the F-18’s were a ‘cold war” purchase. Designed to fight in the european theater
          Canada was the first country to recieve delivery of the new F-18’s in Europe in the 1980’s
          ( even before the US Air Force recieved their delivery).
          The latest plane, the F-35 is turning into one of the worst, costliest boondoggles the donkeys in Ottawa could have possibly dreamed up.

          As one auditor surmised in his critique of the Canadian Helicopter purchase…..” Canada has created a case study on “How NOT to procure military equipment”.

          Canadaian military purchases.
          What a complete embarrassment of taxpayers riches.


  7. Hey Laila, we made the news with our China-Canada military cooperation stories; I don’t mean we got credit or anything – I mean we *made* the news. 😉

    CTV has an article up about it tonight :
    China’s defence minister meets with Tory ministers amid undisclosed stop

    Murray Brewster contacted Nicholson’s office who said the agreement was “non-binding”.

    This reminded me that back in Oct 2007, the Jerusalem Post announced : “Israel, Canada sign security accord”, a Canada-Israel agreement on “homeland security matters”.
    Stockwell Day’s comm director first denied it, then said it was non-binding : “The minister didn’t sign anything” but Israel’s Ministry of Public Security website said signing was imminent.

    Five months later Day announced it from Tel Aviv : a Canada-Israel Declaration of Intent to cooperate on mutually agreed threats like border security, a Canada-Israel border pact.

    Apologies for self–referential link but the original links are gone now :


  8. Yes, well Alison we should have made the news for being the only people to pick up on this besides ethnic papers in Canada for a week!
    I wrote this on the 24th, you did yours on the 27th and today is the 30th. An unannounced visit and unannounced agreement… and that’s not news.

    Great link Alison! I agree with this defence expert who states the silence over this meeting is troubling, and puzzling. And you provide us with such a great example from the past….

    OTTAWA — China’s defence minister made an unheralded stop in Canada last week, meeting with two Harper government ministers amid rising tensions over the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

    Gen. Chang Wanquan had face-to-face discussions with Defence Minister Rob Nicholson and Foreign Affairs John Baird last Thursday, says Western defence sources and Chinese media reports.

    There was even a side trip to Kingston, Ont., where Chang visited the Royal Military College and the Canadian Army staff college before returning to Beijing.

    Chang’s visit, unlike those of ministers of other high-profile nations, was kept off-the-radar by the Harper government, which neither issued a statement nor revealed that the two nations have apparently agreed to enhance military ties.

    Publications in China say a deal was signed to promote high-level military exchanges and to establish a mechanism whereby the two countries can talk defence matters directly with one another.

    A spokeswoman for Nicholson, Genevieve Breton, confirmed the meeting took place and described the agreement as a “non-binding” co-operation plan that formalizes a process already in place.

    Although not raised with Nicholson, the question of whether Syria came up in Chang’s other discussions remains a mystery.

    Defence expert Rob Huebert said the government’s silence is puzzling and troubling.

    Earlier in its tenure, the Harper government took a hard line on China’s human-rights record, Huebert said, and the Conservatives may be reluctant to be seen “cozying up” to Beijing for domestic political reasons, and at a time of heightened international tension.

    As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China, along with Russia, has often frustrated Western attempts to organize an international response to the bloody civil war, which tore apart Syria and left tens of thousands dead.

    Beijing has strong trade ties with the regime of Bashar al Assad.

    Another issue of importance has been the increased use of cyberattacks on western commercial, industrial and government targets. Last winter, a U.S.-based cybersecurity firm, Mandiant, accused a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai of mounting hundreds of online attacks against American companies.

    Last June, former defence minister Peter MacKay raised the issue with Chang, saying he laid down “clear markers” when the two met in Beijing.

    Breton confirmed the topic was discussed again, but would not provide detail.

    Canada’s energy and mineral resources, particularly in the Arctic, have been of growing interest to the Chinese, says Huebert, of the University of Calgary.

    “The North is of growing strategic importance to China, both for minerals and as a possible shipment route,” said Huebert, an expert on the Arctic.

    A polar institute was recently established at a major Chinese university, and the country, which does not border the Arctic, has announced plans to build an icebreaker. China also recently won observer status at the eight-member international Arctic Council.

    “They are taking this quite seriously and I can see them as among the most active observers in terms of research, especially into understanding climate change,” said Huebert.

    Whether that translates into a military threat — or at the least a desire by China to send military ships through the Northwest Passage — remains to be seen.

    All of the activity caught the attention of Canadian military officials who have instructed defence researchers to study China’s plans and ambitions in the region.

    A defence spokesman, Maj. Andre Salloum, said the report by Defence Research and Development Canada, completed in March 2012, concluded that “China’s involvement in the Arctic was focused on scientific, environmental, climate, as well as economic interests.”


    1. And another reason why the province is pretending a bridge is the better option when in fact, expanding the tunnel has been the preferred option for many many years.


  9. And another reason these trade deals/initiatives are not something to be taken lightly. We all lose. We all pay. Are the politicians prepared to put their own money on the line if these are so good for our country? Are the political parties prepared to put the money up? I doubt it. It’s you and I and our kids and grandkids who will pay. Not the politician and political party. They’ve all got their position on the boards when they leave.


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