MIKE BLANCHFIELD – OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADATHE CANADIAN PRESS
Canada’s foreign affairs minister says she plans to travel to Asia and elsewhere for some first-hand research before she releases the government’s much-anticipated new policy on China.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly also says she wants to strengthen a Canada-led international convention that condemns arbitrary detention – or hostage diplomacy – so that it has more teeth.
Joly told The Canadian Press that although the simmering crisis in eastern Europe with Russian troops massed on Ukrainian borders is all-consuming, she is actively working to deliver on a key marching order given her by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: to create a comprehensive new Indo-Pacific strategy.
“I’ll be going into the Indo-Pacific region soon. So that also will be part of the engagement before tabling the Indo-Pacific strategy,” Joly said in an interview this week before wrapping up a visit to Germany and France.
“The geopolitical situation in Europe is taking a lot of my time but I’m very much aware that the Indo-Pacific strategy will be a key mark of our government.”
The Indo-Pacific label is foreign-policy shorthand for policies and approaches to the vast Asia-Pacific region that deal with confronting China. Joly is attending a major international security conference in Munich where Ukraine-Russia crisis is a major discussion topic. But she will take part in China-focused talks in Paris at a European Union forum on Indo-Pacific issues.
“It’s organized by the French so that’s also part of understanding what other like-minded countries are doing,” she said.