Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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Ottawa Still Wary Of Beijing Despite 3 Premiers’ Visit To China

Canada-China Ties

(Photo : Reuters) China's ambassador to Canada Zhang Junsai (L) meets with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa January 11, 2012.

Ottawa is still wary of Beijing despite sending three premiers this week to the Chinese capital for the APEC summit.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper took weeks before accepting China's invitation to participate in bilateral discussion before the said summit. During the trip to Beijing, the premiers brought representatives from over 200 companies aiming to seal business deals with China, The Globe and Mail relayed.

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While Ottawa exhibits a more wary approach to Beijing's invitation, the provinces displayed a warm acceptance of the discussions in a bid to seal trade deals with China. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne urged Harper to show more support for the premiers' trade mission, the report said.

So far, the premiers have avoided venturing into sensitive political discussions with China. They focused instead on clinching business deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The three Canadian premiers met with the cabinet ministers of China and other business bigwigs.

Wynne is trying to link Ontario's green tech industry with deals to clean up the air and water of China. Premier Phillipe Couillard of Quebec also vowed to lure in Chinese mining firms with a new rail line in the northern province.

Meanwhile, Robert Ghiz of Prince Edward Island is trying to help the Canadian seafood industry enter the Chinese market.

The three premiers said it is important for them to cooperate if they want Canada to have a piece of the second-largest economy in the world. As Couillard put it, having a "continuous presence" in China is very important for the trade deals to succeed.

However, Harper's ties with Beijing is another story. In 2006, the prime minister said he would not sacrifice Canada's values in exchange for deals with China. Although he has now softened on his stance, he still has shown less enthusiasm than the Canadian premiers in pursuing Chinese trade.

China, on the other hand, conveyed its eagerness in conducting the bilateral talks. Fang-Li, the Chinese consul-general in Toronto, called on Harper to focus more on discussing the economy, education and other important things with the Chinese leaders rather than talk about sensitive topics.

The ties between the two countries have gone cold in the last few months after Canada threw hacking allegations against China in summer. China also detained Canadian missionaries Kevin and Julia Garratt, both residing near the North Korean border over spying-related charges.

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