The Justin Trudeau-led Federal government on Sunday announced its Indo-Pacific strategy detailing the allocation of $2.3 billion (USD $1.7 billion) over the next five years in the region to counter the growing dominance of China.
The Federal Government, in the 26-page document, did not mince words while scrutinising China amid growing tensions between the nations.
“China’s rise, enabled by the same international rules and norms that it now increasingly disregards, has had an enormous impact on the Indo-Pacific, and it has ambitions to become the leading power in the region,” detailed the strategy.
“China is making large-scale investments to establish its economic influence, diplomatic impact, offensive military capabilities and advanced technologies. China is looking to shape the international order into a more permissive environment for interests and values that increasingly depart from ours…China’s sheer size and influence makes co-operation necessary to address some of the world’s existential pressures, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, global health and nuclear proliferation,” it continued.
Unveiling the statement, Canada’s Foreign Minister Melanie Joly stated, “The future of the Indo-Pacific is our future; we have a role to play in shaping it. To do so, we need to be a true, reliable partner… [the strategy] sends a clear message to the region that Canada is here, and they can trust we are here to stay.”
Speaking to media outlets, Joly also advised Canadian businesses to stay cautious about doing business in China.
“There is a fundamental problem with the fact that China currently does not respect international norms and tries to change or interpret them to its own advantage…My job is to explain the risk. And I’m saying there is a geopolitical risk in doing business in China,” Joly asserted.
The strategy comes not long after an interaction between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese President Xi Jinping, wherein the latter reportedly confronted the Canadian PM over ‘media leaks.’
In a viral video from the summit that has since made rounds on social media, Xi retaliated by confronting PM Trudeau about Canada’s “inappropriate” way of handling interpersonal relations between the nations. The Chinese President could be seen accusing Trudeau of ‘leaking” everything they talk about to media outlets.
In a statement on Sunday, U.S. ambassador to Canada, David Cohen, seconded the strategy. It may be pertinent to note that last February, the US also released a similar statement regarding interaction with the area.