Tue, 07 Feb 2023

Canada launches Indo-Pacific defense, cyber security policy

Robert Besser
01 Dec 2022, 05:10 GMT+10

OTTAWA, Canada: Canada has launched its Indo-Pacific strategy, which includes spending worth $1.7 billion, with the aim of enhancing military and cyber security in the region.

The strategy is also aimed at dealing with a "disruptive" China while working with Beijing on issues such as climate change and trade.

The 26-page document stipulates that Canada will tighten foreign investment rules to prevent Chinese state-owned enterprises from purchasing critical mineral supplies and protect intellectual property.

While Canada aims to deepen ties with the Indo-Pacific region, comprising 40 countries generating economic activities worth some C$50 trillion, the focus is on China, especially during a time when relations between the two countries are strained.

In a news conference in Vancouver to explain the new plan, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said, "We will engage in diplomacy because we think diplomacy is a strength; at the same time, we will be firm, and that is why we have now a very transparent plan to engage with China."

As Canada is economically reliant on the United States, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government wants to diversify trade and economic ties with other countries, with China accounting for under 7 percent of the total, compared to 68 percent with the U.S.

The document stressed that to address some of the "world's existential pressures," including climate change, global health, and nuclear proliferation, cooperation with the world's second-largest economy was essential.

"China is an increasingly disruptive global power. Our approach is shaped by a realistic and clear-eyed assessment of today's China. In areas of profound disagreement, we will challenge China," the document states.

Tensions between the two countries increased in late 2018 after Canadian police detained a Huawei Technologies executive. In response, Beijing arrested two Canadians on spying charges.

Earlier this month, Canada, citing national security risks, ordered three Chinese companies to sell their investments in Canadian critical minerals.

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