Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said she would release Canada’s long-delayed Indo-Pacific strategy this year.
She says the strategy will be shaped by a major meeting the Chinese government will hold in two weeks.
The strategy will include cooperation on climate change, she said in an interview with the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington, D.C.
Joly also revealed that she will be traveling to Peru next week for the Organization of American States summit.
In mid-October, she will travel to Japan and South Korea.
Business leaders and former diplomats have been pushing the Trudeau government for months to define Canada’s friends, enemies and priorities in the Indo-Pacific region.
“I will present our policy for the Indo-Pacific and China before the end of the year,” Joly said in a Friday afternoon interview with the think tank.
“We have not defined ourselves as an Indo-Pacific country since the beginning of our history. We have always invested heavily in the transatlantic relationship,” she said.
“We have to turn west.”
Joly said the strategy will be shaped in part by the National Congress of the Communist Party of China, a major week-long meeting that takes place every five years and begins Oct. 16.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping is expected to outline the country’s economic direction and whether a strict COVID-19 policy that has disrupted global supply chains will remain in place.
It is because of these strict rules that Montreal is hosting a major UN biodiversity summit in December, despite China’s role as president.
Joly said she was confident the United States would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, but needed more reassurance from China, which is the world’s other major polluter. .
“We will lead the way and that is why it is important to bring China with us,” she said.
“China must be at the table. This is the only way to achieve our goals. It is existential for us.
Meanwhile, Joly said his upcoming visit to Peru will include discussions on how countries can send more fertilizer to Latin America to help offset the impact of sanctions on Russia.
She blamed Russia for anti-American disinformation in the region, but said governments must address the grievances that allow disinformation to thrive.
“We need to show up and make sure we have solutions to inflation and the economic challenges that Canadians are also facing,” she said.
“We have to make sure that the government works, because following the pandemic there are certainly frustrations.”
By Dylan Robertson