Minister Baird to Visit China and Indonesia

(No. 203 – July 13, 2011 – 4:30 p.m. ET) John Baird, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, will be travelling to China from July 17 to 21, 2011, for his first visit to Asia as Foreign Affairs Minister. The visit signals the importance Canada places on this key bilateral relationship and a desire to engage China on all fronts.

"Our government’s first priority—and the reason the Canadian people gave us the strong mandate they did—is to focus on creating jobs and completing our economic recovery,” said Minister Baird. "Strengthening ties with China, which is home to one of the world’s most important and fastest-growing economies, makes sense.”

The Minister will spend three days in China, visiting Beijing and Shanghai. He will meet with senior Chinese leaders, including his counterpart, Foreign Affairs Minister Yang Jiechi, and business executives from Canadian and Chinese companies. The objective of the trip is to deepen the Canada-China bilateral relationship and carry through on the momentum established by the Canada-China Joint Statement, which was agreed upon by Prime Minister Harper and Premier Wen Jiabao in December 2009. The Minister will also look to further advance Canada’s interest in educational cooperation, trade and investment, global and regional security, and governance issues, including protection of human rights.

"Canada and China can benefit from closer relations in all areas," said Minister Baird. "I am pleased to be able to have this opportunity to further Canada’s interests and represent Canadian values at the highest levels."

Following his official visit to China, Minister Baird will travel to Bali, Indonesia, from July 21 to 24, to attend the 44th ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference.

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