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Premier Li welcomes Canadian Prime Minister in Forbidden City

Hu Yongqi
Updated: Aug 31,2016 11:16 AM     chinadaily.com.cn

Premier Li meets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Forbidden City in Beijing, Aug 30, 2016.[Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Forty-three years after joining his father on a visit to the Forbidden City, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was welcomed by Premier Li Keqiang on Aug 30 at the UNESCO World Heritage site as he started an eight-day visit to China.

The wooden chairs and tea tables in traditional Chinese style might have reminded Trudeau of his subsequent private visits to the Forbidden City. On Aug 30, he wore a red tie, a color often interpreted as a token of luck in China, to dine with Premier Li in a rare arrangement at Jianfu Palace inside the Forbidden City.

Trudeau will also visit Shanghai and Hong Kong and attend next week’s G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

This is Trudeau’s first visit to China since taking office in November. In 1973, his father, Pierre Trudeau, was the first Canadian prime minister to visit Beijing, three years after diplomatic ties were established.

Since the establishment of ties, the two countries have greatly deepened political, economic, trade and people-to-people links, Premier Li said.

Premier Li meets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Forbidden City in Beijing, Aug 30, 2016.[Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

China is now Canada’s second-largest trade partner, second-biggest source of imports and second-largest export market, and both countries have bright prospects for bilateral relations and cooperation, the Premier said.

Both countries advocate diverse cultures, Premier Li added, and China is willing to work with the Canadian government to take bilateral relations to a new stage of development and achieve mutual benefits.

Trudeau said his administration will continue its traditional friendship with China and deepen bilateral relations and all-around pragmatic cooperation to enhance their positive, stable and strong relationship.

In the first 11 months last year, bilateral trade between China and Canada reached $50.5 billion, a year-on-year increase of 1.6 percent, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Trudeau’s private visits to Beijing, including as a toddler with his father 43 years ago, might have influenced his friendly policies toward China, said Ruan Zongze, executive vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies. “His visit is expected to restart relations with China, as the new government wants to expand economic ties and trade with us.”

Premier Li meets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Forbidden City in Beijing, Aug 30, 2016.[Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Canadian Ambassador to China Guy Saint-Jacques said, “Our prime minister wants to be very supportive of China and wants to make a success of the summit.”

Saint-Jacques said Canada’s new government is putting a lot of effort into expanding its relations with China in all fields, including trade and the economy, since Trudeau wants to have “a robust and comprehensive relation with China”.

He also said the Canadian government is considering ways to increase trade. Regarding a free trade agreement between the two countries, the ambassador said there is a lot of work being done to speed up negotiations.

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