Canada to boost defence, cyber security in Indo-Pacific policy, focus on ‘disruptive’ China

OTTAWA, Nov 27 (Reuters) – Canada launched its long-awaited Indo-Pacific strategy on Sunday, spending C$2.3 billion ($1.7 billion) to boost military and cyber security in the region. Outlined and vowed to deal with China as a “disruptor”. Working with him on climate change and trade issues

The plan, detailed in a 26-page document, says Canada will tighten foreign investment rules to protect intellectual property and prevent Chinese state-owned enterprises from withholding vital mineral supplies.

Canada is seeking to deepen ties with the fast-growing Indo-Pacific region of 40 countries, which accounts for about $50 trillion in economic activity. But the focus is on China, which has been mentioned more than 50 times, at a time when bilateral relations have cooled.

At a news conference in Vancouver, four cabinet ministers detailed the new plan, saying the strategy is critical to Canada’s national security and climate, as well as its economic goals.

“We will engage in diplomacy because we believe that diplomacy is power, but we will also be assertive and that’s why we now have a very transparent way of engaging with China,” said Secretary of State Melania Jolie. There is a plan,” said Secretary of State Melania Jolie.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government wants to diversify trade and economic ties that are heavily dependent on the United States. Official data from September showed that bilateral trade with China was less than 7% of the total, compared to 68% for the US.

Canada’s outreach to Asian allies comes even as Washington has shown signs of becoming increasingly leery of free trade in recent years.

The document points to Canada’s dilemma in building relations with China, which offer significant opportunities for Canadian exporters, even as the Beijing international system allows for more “interests and values”. wants to give shape to those who are fast moving away from us.”

Challenge China.

Nevertheless, the document says cooperation with the world’s second-largest economy is essential to address “the world’s existential pressures,” including climate change, global health and nuclear proliferation.

The strategy states that “China is an increasingly disruptive global power. “Our approach … is shaped by a realistic and clear-eyed assessment of China today. In areas of deep disagreement, we will challenge China.”

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Tensions with China escalated in late 2018 when Canadian police detained a Huawei Technologies executive and Beijing later arrested two Canadians on espionage charges. All three were released last year, but relations remain strained.

Canada earlier this month ordered three Chinese companies to stop investing in key Canadian minerals, citing national security concerns.

The document mentions China, saying that Ottawa will review and update legislation that will enable it to “act decisively when investments by government agencies and other foreign entities threaten our threaten national security, including our supply chains of critical minerals”.

“Because the region is both large and diverse, one size certainly does not fit all,” Perrin Beattie, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement, adding that Canada’s priorities will require a great deal of fine-tuning both between and within countries.

The document says Canada will boost its naval presence in the region and “increase its military engagement and intelligence capabilities to reduce threats to extremism and regional security.”

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This includes the annual deployment of three frigates to the region, up from two currently, as well as the participation of Canadian airmen and soldiers in regional military exercises, Defense Minister Anita Anand said at a separate news conference.

Canada belongs to the Group of Seven major industrialized nations, which wants significant measures in response to North Korea’s missile tests.

Ottawa is engaged with partners in the region such as the United States and the European Union, the document said.

He said Canada needed to keep talking to nations with which it had fundamental differences, but did not name them.

($1 = 1.3377 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Edited by Danny Thomas, Leslie Adler, Daniel Wallace and Mark Porter

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

David Ljunggren

Thomson Reuters

Covers Canadian political, economic and general news, as well as breaking news across North America, formerly based in London and Moscow and winner of Reuters’ Treasury Scoop of the Year.

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