(No. 132 - May 15, 2009) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today successfully wrapped up his first official visit to Northeast Asia.
In China, Minister Cannon met with his counterpart, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. The ministers discussed a broad range of issues, including the global economic downturn, terrorism, human rights, climate change and emerging infectious diseases, as well as trade and investment, the Arctic and Afghanistan.
"We committed to working more closely together to address pressing challenges," said Minister Cannon. "Canada wants a frank, friendly and forward-looking relationship with China, and the upcoming 40th anniversary of our bilateral relations, as well as this year's 100th anniversary of our Trade Commissioner Service in Shanghai, offer excellent opportunities to highlight Sino-Canadian ties."
Minister Cannon also met with Vice-President Xi Jinping. The meeting was an opportunity to advance the Canada-China relationship as the two countries address common concerns and work together in enhancing global stability and prosperity.
Minister Cannon and Vice-President Xi also exchanged views on China's large fiscal packages and policy changes aimed at boosting domestic economic growth, and stressed the importance of fighting protectionism.
"Vice President Xi and I highlighted the upcoming opportunities presented by the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as Shanghai's 2010 World Expo, for enhancing people-to-people ties," said Mr. Cannon.
The Minister also announced the appointment of Mark Rowswell, a Canadian who is a celebrity in China and is known there as "Dashan," as Canada's Commissioner General for Expo 2010, which will take place in Shanghai from May 1 to October 31, 2010.
May 12 marked the one-year anniversary of the Sichuan earthquake, and Minister Cannon expressed his sincere sympathy to the people of China for the loss of life in that tragic event.
In Japan, Minister Cannon met with Prime Minister Taro Aso to discuss ways to further strengthen the Canada-Japan relationship by enhancing cooperation on peace and security and other global issues.
"I reiterated to the Prime Minister that Canada is honoured to host Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan in July," said Mr. Cannon.
In addition, the Minister had a very productive meeting with Japan's Foreign Minister, Hirofumi Nakasone. Minister Cannon highlighted the fact that 2009 is a very significant year in Canada-Japan relations, as it is the 80th anniversary of Canada's diplomatic presence in Japan. He stressed the importance that Canada places on the bilateral relationship. Canada and Japan have a strong partnership, share values and viewpoints in many areas and are committed to advancing security issues and economic prosperity in the world.
"The signing on May 14 of bilateral standard operating procedures in support of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions is testament to this commitment," said Mr. Cannon.
The two ministers agreed that Canada and Japan must continue to work together to improve the global financial system in light of the current economic crisis. Both countries recognize the value of enhanced cooperation among fiscal, monetary and regulatory authorities. Both sides reiterated the commitment to resist protectionism to allow for open trade and investment.
"In Japan, I raised some issues of particular importance to Canada. I spoke about how an economic partnership agreement between Canada and Japan would be of great benefit to both countries," said Minister Cannon
The ministers shared their concern regarding North Korea's recent launch of a long-range rocket and their support for the Six-Party Talks as a means of creating a stable Northeast Asia.
"I also emphasized that Canada shares Japan's concern about the H1N1 flu virus and expressed our desire to work with international partners to minimize its effects and spread," said Mr. Cannon.
"I took the opportunity to commend Japan for its meticulous, science-based approach to addressing the spread of the H1N1 flu virus. Minister Nakasone noted that Japan appreciates the strong measures Canada has taken."
Minister Cannon also met with the Japanese Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada and with the President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency Sadako Ogata to discuss a range of issues.
In addition, the Minister had a very fruitful exchange with Japanese opinion leaders, which focused on security challenges and regional architecture in the Pacific, the current social and political challenges in Japan, and East Asian integration.
For more information on Minister Cannon's visit to China and Japan, please consult the following Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada Web pages:
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Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
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