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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Harper to visit India, China for 1st time

October 29, 2009

CBC News (Canada)
October 28, 2009

Prime Minister Stephen Harper shown in a file
photo on January, 16, 2009.Prime Minister Stephen
Harper shown in a file photo on January, 16, 2009. (Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced plans
to visit two of the world's emerging economic
superpowers -- China and India -- for the first time this fall.

Harper will travel to India -- where Canada
recently opened new trade offices in Hyderabad,
Calcutta and Ahmedabad -- from Nov. 16 to 18
after meeting APEC leaders in Singapore, his
office said in a statement released Wednesday in Ottawa.

International Trade Minister Stockwell Day says
Canada hopes to double bilateral trade with India
-- which currently stands at about $4.5 billion — by 2014.

"We share a history of cooperation in the
Commonwealth and the United Nations, as well as a
shared commitment to pluralism, democracy, human
rights and the rule of law," Harper said in a statement.

"Our goal is to build a stronger, more dynamic
partnership based on shared commercial, political and regional interests."

The PMO also confirmed long-expected plans to visit China from Dec. 2 to 6.

"Our two countries enjoy a growing partnership,
sharing significant interests in trade and
investment, the environment and regional security," Harper said in a statement.

"Canada is committed to a strong relationship
with China that reflects our mutual respect and
the need for practical co-operation."

The importance of both countries to strengthening
Canada's global trade ties is evidenced by the
fact that there have been 11 ministerial-level
visits to India and 18 to China since Harper's
minority government was first elected in 2006.

However, relations with China have also been strained during Harper's tenure.

After Parliament unanimously adopted a motion
giving honorary Canadian citizenship to the Dalai
Lama in 2006, China threatened to use its
considerable economic strength to penalize Canada.

The Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989
for his lifelong struggle for Tibetan autonomy
and his pursuit of peace. He has lived in exile
since 1958, when China annexed Tibet.

In 2007, Harper warned China not to threaten
Canada with economic repercussions for bringing
up the Asian country's human rights record and
standing up for the rights of Canadians abroad.

Harper was referring to the case of Huseyin
Celil, a Canadian activist jailed in China for alleged terrorist links.

China is Canada's third-largest export
destination, after the United States and the United Kingdom.
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