Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has emphasized the importance of Canada strengthening its ties with Southeast Asian partners, signalling a strategic shift away from China and a concerted effort to diversify its global supply chains.
In response, Mr. Trudeau highlighted Canada’s commitment to diversify its relationships and supply chains beyond major economic and trade partners such as the United States and China.
“One of the things that Canada well knows [is that] it’s important to diversify our relationships and our supply chains,” he said.
“We have a tremendous connection and dependence on the United States as our largest neighbour, but we also focus on diversifying around the world to make sure we have more resilient supply chains. That’s exactly what we’re doing here in Southeast Asia.”
Mr. Trudeau acknowledged that China is a significant part of the economy of the region and indeed of the global economy. But he deferred to “tremendous opportunities across Southeast Asia to grow,” while deepening Canada’s ties to the region.
During an interview with Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker on Sept. 7, Mr. Trudeau said that achieving a political rapprochement between Canada and China is currently unfeasible, citing the Chinese communist regime’s various political decisions that have further strained its global relationships.
The prime minister attributed this ongoing tension with Beijing in part to “real concerns around foreign interference.” Reports of alleged Beijing-driven political interference in Canada have dominated recent headlines, with allegations of China’s involvement in federal elections in 2019 and 2021. Beijing is also accused of operating secret police service stations in numerous countries around the world, with at least seven in Canada.
Following his Singapore visit, the prime minister will be attending the G20 summit in New Delhi, India, in his tour of the region.