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It's time to seize opportunities and promote in-depth development of China-Canada relations: ambassador

On Dec. 4, The Hill Times published an article written by Chinese Ambassador in Canada Lu Shaye, calling for China and Canada to seize opportunities and promote in-depth development of the bilateral relations. Here is the full text:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is paying an official visit to China this week and will take part in the second annual dialogue between the Chinese premier and the Canadian prime minister. Given the then-governor general David Johnston's visit to China in July, Canada is the only nation to have both its heads of state and government visit China in 2017. Trudeau's visit, which comes shortly after the convening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, will provide opportunities for the two sides to draw new blueprints for the development of bilateral relations in a new era.

Since taking office in 2015, Trudeau has attached great importance to developing relations with China, opening a new "golden era" for China-Canada relations. This year, leaders of the two countries have maintained frequent exchanges and strengthened the top-level design and coordinated planning for bilateral relations. We launched the Economic and Financial Strategic Dialogues, held the second High-Level National Security and Rule of Law Dialogue and other bilateral mechanism dialogues in various fields including diplomacy, military, judicial affairs, agriculture, and environment, which have promoted mutual understanding and achieved new development in practical cooperation.

Remarkable achievements have been made in bilateral economic and trade cooperation. From January to August this year, the bilateral trade volume totalled $60.1-billion Cdn, with a year-on-year increase of 12.1 per cent. Both sides have held four rounds of exploratory discussions on free trade and reached consensus on a number of issues. Canada joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Both sides have made new progress in cooperation in energy, environmental protection, science and technology, agriculture, and other fields.

Highlights of people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two countries include the first Ice Dragon Boat Festival, "Beijing Week" in Ottawa, the Chinese Culture Exhibition at the Ottawa Tulip Festival, and more radiance to the 150th anniversary of the founding of Canada.

China has long been the most important source of overseas students for Canada. This year, the number of Chinese students in Canada has increased by 34,000. Tourism cooperation between our two countries maintains strong momentum, and China has become the third largest and fastest-growing overseas tourism market.

Both China and Canada unswervingly adhere to economic globalization and free trade and are committed to tackling climate change. Both sides have maintained close communication and coordination within the United Nations, the G20, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and other multilateral organizations.

Entering into a new era, China-Canada relations have enjoyed a solid foundation, shared broad prospects, and a brilliant future.

We should adhere to the general direction of the friendly relations between our two countries. China and Canada have no historical disputes or conflicts of fundamental interests. As two important countries in the Asia-Pacific region, we share extensive common interests in economic development, social prosperity, and the promotion of world peace and development. Despite the current anti-globalization upsurge, win-win cooperation remains the overwhelming trend of the times. Strengthening the friendly, cooperative relations between China and Canada is in line with this trend and conforms to the fundamental interests of the two peoples. Every once in a while, however, someone comes up with doubtful excuses against China-Canada relations and bilateral cooperation. I do not think this reflects the mainstream wishes of the Canadian people. Quite the contrary, I think those excuses go against the interests of the Canadian people. We should stay unswervingly committed to the development of bilateral relations.

We should earnestly advance pragmatic cooperation in economic and trade and other fields. China is a huge market with nearly 1.4 billion people and a fast-growing middle class. In the upcoming 15 years, China is expected to import goods worth $24-trillion US, attract foreign direct investment worth $2-trillion US, and invest $2-trillion US in overseas markets. In November next year, China will host the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai. As Chinese ambassador to Canada, I sincerely hope that China and Canada could seize these opportunities to make bilateral practical cooperation bigger and bigger, achieving in 2025 or even at an earlier date the goal set by our leaders of doubling the bilateral trade volume on the basis of 2015. The signing of a free trade agreement between China and Canada will provide Canada with more effective and preferential access to the Chinese market, and I hope Canada will not miss out.

We should vigorously step up exchanges and friendship between the two peoples. Next year marks the China-Canada Year of Tourism, during which we must take practical measures to facilitate people-to-people exchanges between the two sides, and hold various people-to-people and cultural activities, in a bid to attract more tourists to our respective countries. Currently, there are more than 180,000 Chinese students studying in Canada. We should also encourage more Canadian students to study in China.

Canada is a major country in winter sports. We should seize the opportunity, as China is going to host the 2022 Winter Olympics and the 2022 Winter Paralympics, for the promotion of cooperation in winter sports and the sports industry between China and Canada.

We hope to see true and accurate reports on each other's development in the media of our two nations, and tell more good stories about China-Canada cooperation, for the sake of providing more positive information to the two peoples and injecting more positive energy into China-Canada relations.

We should manage and control differences properly. It is normal that we have differences on some specific issues due to the variance in social systems, historical and cultural backgrounds. But we should not block exchanges and cooperation just because of the existence of differences. We should be open and inclusive as we seek common ground, while reserving differences. We should prevent those differences from hindering our cooperation.

China has proposed to build a community with a shared future for mankind and a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation. I believe that, as long as we increase mutual trust, meet each other half way, and cooperate, the vast ocean between us can be sailed just like a strip of water. Let us work hand in hand and seize the opportunities to create a better future for China-Canada relations.

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