Canada and China sign “Strategic Alliance”

Big news out of Ottawa today.

The Chinese President Hu JinTao and PM PM (Prime Minister Paul Martin) signed a “strategic alliance” today. Details of the alliance seem thin but it is clearly mainly economic in nature.

China has been investing heavily in the Canadian resource sector, especially oil and natural gas so this is likely an initiative to expand and encourage that.

One thing is clear, China is a huge and growing economy. Only the US does more business with Canada and the future of the world economy lies in Asia, not America.

The big problem with China is, of course, human rights. According to the CBC (linked above):

PMPM “said that he and President Hu Jintao had “open and frank” discussions about Tibet, Falun Gong and 10 human rights cases.”

Hu “in one of his more diplomatic responses — said: “Given the different national conditions of China and Canada and given our different history and cultural traditions, it is quite normal for our two countries to have different views about human rights.”

Hopefully more details of this strategic alliance will emerge as time goes on, at the very least so that we can be sure that human rights was and is on the books as a key issue and condition towards Canadas’ continued openeness with the Chinese.