Formed by looming Chinese Congress, liberals to launch Indo-Pacific strategy this year

Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie said Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy will be announced later this year.

She said the strategy will be shaped by a major meeting the Chinese government will hold in two weeks.

The strategy would include cooperation on climate change, she said in an interview with Washington, DC think tank Atlantic Council.

Jolie also revealed that she will be visiting Peru next week for the Organization of American States summit.

In mid-October, she is heading to Japan and South Korea.

Business leaders and former diplomats have been pressuring the Trudeau administration for months to outline Canada’s friends, foes and priorities in the Indo-Pacific.

“By the end of the year, we will finalize our Indo-Pacific and China policies,” Jolie said in an interview with a think tank on Friday afternoon.

“Since history began, we have not defined ourselves as an Indo-Pacific nation. We have always invested heavily in transatlantic relationships,” she said.

“We have to turn west.”

Jolie said part of the strategy would be shaped by the Chinese Communist Party’s National Congress.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping is set to outline the country’s economic focus and whether the draconian COVID-19 policies that have disrupted global supply chains will continue to be implemented.

These strict rules are why Montreal hosts a major UN summit on biodiversity in December, even though China is the chair.

Jolie said he was confident the United States would cut greenhouse gas emissions, but needed further assurances from China, another major source of pollution in the world.

“We will lead the way, and that is why it is so important to bring China along,” she said.

“China needs to come to the negotiating table. That’s the only way we can achieve our objectives. This is existential for us.”

Meanwhile, Jolie said a looming visit to Peru will include discussions on how countries can send more fertilizer to Latin America to offset the cascading effects of sanctions against Russia.

She accused Russia of anti-American disinformation in the region, but said the government needed to address grievances that allowed disinformation to thrive.

“We need to show up and make sure we provide a solution to inflation and the economic challenges Canadians are experiencing,” she said.

“There will definitely be frustration after the pandemic, so we need to make sure the government works.”

Dylan Robertson

canadian press