Luo Zhaohui is China's ambassador to Canada.
Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, together with his wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau and daughter Ella-Grace, paid his first official visit to China and attended the G20 leaders' summit in Hangzhou. My wife, Ms. Jiang Yili, and I accompanied them on this trip in China and witnessed this historic moment of bilateral relations.
Prime Minister Trudeau is no stranger to China. As early as 33 years ago, the young Trudeau travelled to China with his father, former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau. In his youth, Mr. Trudeau went to China as a tourist another two times. During this visit, Prime Minister Trudeau noted with interest that the last time he was backpacking in Shanghai, it was during the "Spring Festival Travel Rush" in China. It was extremely difficult to get a flight, train or bus ticket, and eventually he had to go to Hong Kong by ship and spent several days at sea. However, there was no need to worry this time since he came by special plane.
And this time as Canadian Prime Minister, he travelled to China with the important mission of promoting China-Canada friendship and co-operation. The entire trip was tightly scheduled with a host of business-related meetings during stops in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, and in Hangzhou. In Beijing, he had in-depth, candid and fruitful exchanges of views with Chinese leaders on China-Canada relations and regional, international and global issues of common concern. The two sides reached important consensus on deepening co-operation in a wide range of areas, and reaffirmed their commitment to the development of a robust and comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Canada. A joint press release was also issued and comprehensively summarized the important outcome of this visit. The visit has great significance for the development of China-Canada relations in the future.
First, this is a journey of friendship. The Chinese people value kindness and cherish friendship. A Canadian man, Dr. Norman Bethune, made the Chinese people remember Canada forever, the wheat trade in the 1960s got the Chinese people to experience friendship in adversity, while Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau turned a new page in China-Canada relations. Today, the Chinese people gave a warm welcome to the young Prime Minister and his family on their visit to China. On the night of arrival, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang hosted a special welcome dinner for Mr. Trudeau in the ancient Forbidden City. They enjoyed the beautiful Beijing night, talked about the friendship between the two countries and planned the development of bilateral relations. This special arrangement not only shows the hospitality of the Chinese people, but also demonstrates the great importance the Chinese government has attached to Mr. Trudeau's visit. Mr. Trudeau gave Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang memorial medals of Norman Bethune, which had been well-preserved for more than 40 years. These special gifts symbolize the legacy of China-Canada friendship. With candid talk, face to face, leaders of the two countries enhanced understanding and cultivated friendship. The two sides announced the establishment of an annual dialogue between the Premier of China and the Prime Minister of Canada, and agreed to maintain close dialogue and exchanges between leaders of both countries.
Prime Minister Trudeau enjoys high popularity in China. Chinese media and websites have been tracking and reporting his trip to China with his family, publishing large-scale photos and videos, and hundreds of millions of Chinese mobile-phone users have been following the media coverage of this trip. He walked on the Great Wall with his wife and daughter, coached basketball for middle-school students in Shanghai with Chinese basketball star Yao Ming, jogged and practised tai chi in the park. All this attracted the attention of his fans in China. Prime Minister Trudeau opened a personal account in WeChat and interacted with ordinary Chinese people. These beautiful images will forever remain in the memories of Chinese and Canadian people, and will play an irreplaceable role in enhancing the soft power of Canada.
Second, this is a journey of co-operation. Mutually beneficial co-operation serves as the cornerstone of China-Canada relations. In the 1960s, the wheat trade opened the door to economic and trade co-operation between the two countries. In the 1990s, the sale of CANDU reactors upgraded the level of bilateral co-operation. Currently, the two countries are facing new opportunities for all-round co-operation. During this visit, the leaders of our two countries sized up the situation and reached consensus on a series of issues. The two sides signed 56 new commercial contracts and agreements worth $1.2-billion, and agreed to strengthen communication and co-operation in the fields of energy, clean technology, agriculture, infrastructure, transportation, financial services as well as innovation, science and technology. Both sides agreed to launch a feasibility study on a free-trade agreement as early as possible, sending a clear message to the international community that both sides will advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. China welcomes Canada to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Prime Minister Trudeau and Mr. Leung Chun-ying, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, jointly announced the entry into force of the Canada-Hong Kong Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement. Prime Minister Trudeau launched a Canadian Pavilion on the Tmall Global platform of the Alibaba Group, the Chinese e-commerce giant. These measures will greatly facilitate access to the Chinese and Asian markets for Canada's companies to promote their products and services.
The two sides actively planned people-to-people exchanges and co-operation, and announced 2018 as the China-Canada Year of Tourism. China will authorize Canada to open seven additional visa-application centres in China. The two sides signed agreements on cultural exchanges and co-operation, including the Programme of Cooperation for the Years 2017 to 2019 under the cultural agreement between the two countries, a bilateral Film Co-production Treaty and the Statement of Co-operation on the Establishment, Conservation and Management of National Park Systems.
Third, this is a journey to increase mutual trust. China and Canada have different national, social and cultural conditions. Only with mutual respect and taking into account each other's major concerns will bilateral relations grow and be sustained. The two sides agreed to act based on principles of mutual respect, equality and shared benefit, and to address constructively differences and sensitive issues. The two sides decided to establish the China-Canada High-Level National Security and Rule of Law Dialogue, and agreed to expand judicial co-operation by welcoming the combined efforts of institutions to train judges and pursuing the exchange of legal practitioners and academics. The two sides also discussed some consular cases and agreed to maintain dialogue and exchanges on human rights on the basis of equality and mutual respect. As for the canola issue, the Chinese side has showed the utmost sincerity by continuing to extend the current quarantine standard, and we hope that the quarantine agencies from our two countries will find a reasonable solution at an early date. The above consensus and achievements show that as long as we keep to the right direction of bilateral relations, we are fully capable of addressing any problems that occur in our bilateral relations.
Fourth, this is a journey to strengthen multilateral co-operation. The leaders of our two countries had in-depth exchanges of views on the G20 Hangzhou Summit. President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Trudeau attended the Business 20 (B20) summit in Hangzhou. With the full support of all the parties, the G20 Hangzhou Summit has made plentiful and substantial achievements. In the following days, China and Canada will closely co-ordinate and co-operate within the G20 framework, and actively implement the outcomes of the Hangzhou Summit. The two sides agreed to enhance co-ordination on global and regional issues, and to provide more public goods for the international communities in areas such as environmental protection, climate change, UN peacekeeping, UN reform and inclusive growth. The two sides will also enhance dialogue and co-operation in the areas of humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and military education. We agreed to collaborate on global development initiatives, including supporting the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. As important members of the international community, China and Canada will make greater contributions to the peace and development of human society by strengthening bilateral co-operation in international affairs.
As an old Chinese saying goes, that which does blossom in the spring will bring forth fruit in the autumn. Autumn is the season for harvest. Over the past 46 years, thanks to the meticulous nurturing by generations of leaders and people of both countries, China-Canada friendship and co-operation has flourished like a tree growing tall and strong. Prime Minister Trudeau's visit to China has not only reaped a bumper harvest, but also injected new vigour and vitality into this tree. I believe that with the upcoming golden autumn, we will harvest more and richer fruits.