On Sunday, Global Times, published by the Chinese Communist Party’s central committee, heralded the visit as an opportunity “to ease the strained China-Canada relations.” However, it quoted a source warning that if Guilbeault “demands” that China become more aggressive on carbon emissions “in a condescending tone” the result could be “counterproductive.”
“Even before the meeting starts, they’re giving us our marching orders,” said Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, a board member with the China Strategic Risks Institute. “Don’t push the envelope. Don’t push China to do more. And frankly, the minister (Guilbeault) himself said he was going to have an open and frank conversation. Good for him.”
At the time that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was first elected in 2015, there was considerable enthusiasm in official Ottawa for the idea of broadening relations and trade with China, to the extent that the Liberal government was working on a free-trade deal and an extradition treaty with Beijing.
But, relations have since deteriorated.
Why is China's relationship with Canada still strained when China has improved its ties with both Australia and the United States in recent times? China did away with its trade measures against Australia and has announced it will cooperate with the United States on fentanyl and other issues and reestablish military communication with the U.S., but it has yet to make such a move toward Canada. Is there a reason given for this? The Chinese spokesperson is usually pretty straightforward and even the Global Times sometimes spell out what they expect from other countries.