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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is greeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping as they take part in a bi-lateral meeting at the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, on Monday, Nov, 16, 2015.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

President Xi Jinping says China will always remember the steps taken by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to build relations between the two countries.

In a formal meeting on the sidelines of the G20 with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Chinese President invoked the legacy of Mr. Trudeau's father during his brief public comments.

The President noted that it was Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau who established diplomatic relations between the two countries 45 years ago.

"That was an extraordinary political vision," said Xi. "China will always remember that."

Less than two weeks after his government was sworn into power, the G20 offers Mr. Trudeau the opportunity to meet the world's most powerful political leaders for the first time as Prime Minister. Canadian officials are pleased with Mr. Trudeau's initial interactions with U.S. President Barack Obama and a formal meeting between the two is scheduled later this week on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Manila, Philippines.

After establishing diplomatic relations in 1970, Pierre Trudeau was the first Canadian Prime Minister to pay an official visit to the People's Republic of China in 1973.

Justin Trudeau invited President Xi Monday to come to Canada for a state visit.

"I celebrate as well 45 years of strong relations between Canada and China and [am] well aware we have an opportunity to set a fresh approach in our relationship right now. I know that there are many opportunities for us to work together on economic, political and cultural ties and I look forward to a very productive engagement in the coming years," he said. "I certainly hope that this is going to be an era of greater co-operation and mutual benefit for both Canada and China in the coming years."

A Canadian official said Mr. Trudeau raised the issue of human rights in China during the private discussion. The official said part of having a strong relationship involves expressing concerns and disagreements in a respectful way.

The official said both countries also committed to exploring the possibility of a free-trade agreement between the two countries, but did not provide further details.

Canada and China signed a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement in 2012, which was ratified and put into force in 2014, 20 years after the start of negotiations toward the deal.

Following the conclusion of the G20 summit Monday, Mr. Trudeau heads to Manila for an APEC summit that is expected to include discussions of the Trans Pacific Partnership, a sweeping Pacific Rim trade deal that excludes China.

Mr. Trudeau's transition team was headed by former deputy minister Peter Harder, who is president of the Canada China Business Council, a group that advocates for greater trade and business links between the two countries.

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