Ottawa, Tokyo agree to boost security, economic ties

Published : 13 Jan 2023 08:35 PM

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met Thursday with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida in Ottawa where they committed to strengthen economic ties as well as their security partnership in the Indo-Pacific region.

"We talked a lot about how Canada can be a reliable supplier not just of energy, but of critical minerals of commodities and resources, including agricultural resources," Trudeau told a joint press conference in the Canadian capital.

Their meeting marked an opportunity to address major defense strategy reforms by Japan, which has substantially increased its military spending.

Trudeau hailed Tokyo's recalibration, noting the rise in east Asia of "authoritarian powers" including Russia and China, whose government he said Canada views as "increasingly disruptive" on the global stage.

Kishida is the first Asian leader to visit Canada since Ottawa announced its new Indo-Pacific policy in November to counter China's influence.

"As the international order is exposed to various challenges," Japan will "strengthen our cooperation with Canada to maintain and strengthen peace and stability," Kishida said.

"We agreed that we would strongly oppose the unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force in the eastern China Sea and the South China Sea," he added.

Kishida spent recent days in Europe where he obtained fresh security cooperation assurances from France and Britain in the Asia-Pacific region.

On the energy front, the Japanese leader said he believed liquified natural gas (LNG) will play a crucial role in the island nation's energy transition.

Canada is poised to become a significant power supplier to Japan and South Korea, notably through its LNG export terminal scheduled to open in 2025 in western Canada's British Columbia province.

After his Ottawa visit, Kishida travels Friday to the US capital, Washington.