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Top Ten News Stories in China-Canada Relations in 2016

The year of 2016 was a milestone in the history of China-Canada relations. Mutual visits between Chinese Premier and Canadian Prime Minister, as well as the rapid development of bilateral cooperation in politics, economy, trade, culture, education, science and technology, and military, had created the new "Golden Era" of China-Canada relations. At the end of the year, the Chinese Embassy in Canada summarized the development and progress in the whole year, and listed the following top ten news stories in China-Canada relations.

1. Mutual Visits between Chinese Premier and Canadian Prime Minister

From September 21 to 24, 2016, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang paid an official visit to Canada and held the first annual dialogue between the heads of the two governments. This was the first visit by Chinese Premier in 13 years. Previously, from August 30 to September 6, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau travelled to China for his first official visit and attended the G20 leaders’ summit in Hangzhou. During the two visits, the leaders of the two countries reached important and broad consensus on the development of China-Canada relations in the new era, issuing the joint statement and the joint press release respectively. They also made announcements and signed documents for nearly 50 important bilateral collaborations. Chinese Premier and Canadian Prime Minister successfully held mutual visits in just one month, creating a new "Golden Era" for China-Canada relations.

2. The First Annual Meeting of Foreign Ministers of China and Canada

From May 31 to June 2, 2016, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made his first official visit to Canada, and held the first annual meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion. Foreign Minister Wang Yi also met with Canadian Governor General Johnston and Prime Minister Trudeau respectively. This was the first visit by Chinese Foreign Minister in the past seven years. Both sides exchanged views in-depth on strengthening bilateral relations and pragmatic cooperation in various fields, especially the preparations for the exchange of visits between Chinese Premier and Canadian Prime Minister.

3. Celebrating the 45th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between China and Canada

On January 27, 2016, the Chinese Embassy in Canada and Canada's Ministry of Foreign Affairs jointly held a reception to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Canada. Ambassador Luo Zhaohui attended the event with Prime Minister Trudeau, Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion, and other Canadian politicians. Prime Minister Trudeau stressed in his speech that Canada will work with China to push the bilateral relations to a new level. The photo exhibition celebrating the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Canada was also held during the reception.

4. Unveiling of Names of Twin Giant Panda Cubs born in Canada

On March 7, 2016, a ceremony was held in the Toronto Zoo to unveil the names of twin giant lands cubs born in Canada. Prime Minister Trudeau and Ambassador Luo Zhaohui jointly announced the name of the giant panda cubs: "Jia Panpan" and "Jia Yue Yue". Premier Li Keqiang sent a special congratulatory message, wishing the giant panda cubs grow up healthily and China-Canada friendship continue to bear new fruits. In his speech, Prime Minister Trudeau expressed his willingness to continuously push for new progress in bilateral relations.

5. The first High-Level National Security and the Rule of Law Dialogue

On September 12, 2016, the first China-Canada High-Level National Security and the Rule of Law Dialogue was held in Beijing. The two sides conducted in-depth exchanges on cooperation in the areas of combating terrorism, cybercrime, transnational organized crime, law enforcement and consular affairs, and reached a number of important agreements. This was a significant step in deepening the cooperation between the two countries in the field of security and the rule of law in the new era.

6. Chinese naval fleet's visit to Canada

From December 15 to 19, 2016, the Chinese navy fleet 546 arrived at Victoria Harbor, Canada, for an official goodwill visit, which was the first visit by a Chinese navy fleet over past ten years. Chinese naval fleet held a series of exchange activities with Canadian military and local overseas Chinese to enhance the friendship between the two armies, deepen military mutual trust.

7. Exploratory discussions on a possible China-Canada Free Trade Agreement to be launched

During Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Canada in September 2016, the two sides agreed to launch exploratory discussions on a possible China-Canada free trade agreement. A FTA between China and Canada would further promote and deepen bilateral economic and trade cooperation. The two sides also aimed to double bilateral trade by 2025 based on the 2015 level.

8. A Successful Conclusion to the China-Canada Year of People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges

On November 10, 2016, the Chinese Ministry of Culture, Canadian Heritage, and the Chinese Embassy in Canada jointly held the closing reception of the 2015-2016 China-Canada Year of People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges. The two-year cultural exchanges between China and Canada came to an end. This was one of the largest cultural exchange activities since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Canada, with 60 thematic exchange programs, including over 200 activities, which played an important role in promoting political trust, exchanges and friendship between the two peoples.

9. The first Memorandum of Understanding on Educational Cooperation between China and Canada

On September 22, 2016, China and Canada signed the "Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Education of China and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and a Development Canada concerning Education Cooperation ", which was the first documents signed by the two governments on education cooperation. At the same time, in order to encourage and support more excellent Canadian students to study in China, the Chinese side launched the Canadian Learning Initiatives in China Program to select outstanding Canadian students each year to study in China for credits.

10. A New Level of Scientific and Technological Collaboration between China and Canada

On February 25, 2016, the 6th Meeting of China-Canada Joint Committee on Science Technology and Innovation Cooperation was held in Ottawa. The two sides signed a series of important agreements, such as the China-Canada Joint Declaration on Clean Technology and the China-Canada Action Plan for Science, Technology and Innovation. The two sides have carried out more than 30 cooperation projects under the framework of the Joint Committee, which has effectively pushed the bilateral collaboration on scientific and technological innovation to a new level.

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