On his state visit to Canada, along with fostering the two country’s trade ties, the Prime Minister Justine Trudeau also raised the issue of human rights.
Over the course of a bilateral exchange with Premier Li Keqiang and subsequent dinner on Monday, Trudeau said he voiced Canada’s opposition to the death penalty and pressed Li on the importance of gaining access to Canadian citizens who face “difficulty in legal situations.”
To his high-powered business audience in Guangzhou, China Trudeau said that the world was at “pivot point”. In his typical charismatic style, Trudeau said: ” We are at a pivot point in the world right now, where we decide whether we work together in an open and confident way and succeed or whether we all falter separately and isolated.” “As that anxiety spreads, people start to turn inwards. They start to close off. They start to get fearful,” he added. “If that continues to happen, make no mistake about it, we will all lose.”He added.
On the other hand, without directly mentioning Donald Trump, Trudeau did speak out in China on the need to save the North American Free Trade Agreement from downfall.
The theme of the business gettogether was “Openness and Innovation: Shaping the Global Economy,” that brought together the chief executives from the world’s biggest companies.
In his keynote address, he made mention of China’s kindred economic spirit, saying it is “well aligned” with Canada to fight for liberalized trade.
“In this new era, we refuse to get left behind; instead we have chosen to lead. We know there are significant disruptions around the world, in our workplaces, within our borders in our countries.”
This visit to China from the Canadian Prime Minister follows his first visit to China in 2016. During the 2016 visit, Canada agreed to open seven additional visa application centers in China to help serve a growing number of Chinese tourists who are crossing the Pacific to explore Canada.
The prime minister has been under pressure from human rights campaigners to push China’s senior-most leaders on the treatment of at least three Canadians who are jailed in the country. His apparent opposition to China’s use of the death penalty comes after Premier Li defended the practice during his visit to Ottawa last year.
Trudeau told reporters at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that his Liberal government in Ottawa can have such discussions with China because of its push for deeper links with the authoritarian state.
“We can have strong and frank discussions about issues that we see differently without endangering the positive relationship we have,” Trudeau said.
“Whenever I meet with world leaders, I bring up the issues of human rights. This is no exception. I brought them up last night — human rights and consular cases with Premier Li — and I will certainly be addressing those issues with President Xi.”