50th anniversary of Canada-China diplomatic relations


October 13, 2020 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:

“Today, Canada and China mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

“In 1970, the Government of Canada took an international leadership position by extending a hand to establish diplomatic relations with China, despite our different systems of government.

“The reason was simple, and the rationale widely shared: the community of nations could not sustainably isolate one-fifth of humanity from its international institutions. Dialogue, as challenging as it was, had to prevail over ignorance and fear.  

“We continue to believe in the importance of our relationship. At the same time, this anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on the foundation of our bilateral relations and the path ahead. Indeed, 50 years on, Canada takes a sober view in examining our relationship, considering the importance of mutual respect and reciprocity, adherence to rules and principles, including human rights, and achieving results that are in Canadian interests. It is unacceptable that any citizen be arbitrarily detained. Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor must be brought home. This is something for which all Canadians stand united. The use of coercive diplomacy causes Canada to re-examine its approach, with a focus on multilateral cooperation.

“As a Pacific nation, Canada recognizes that its future is tied to peace, stability and prosperity in the region. As we build a new framework for relations with China, Canada will work with partners to hold the Chinese government accountable to its international obligations. The common future of Canada and China depends on the rule of law, respect for rights and freedoms and for people in all their diversity. At the same time, we will continue to seek dialogue and cooperation where it makes sense to do so.

“The bedrock of our relations—in the beginning and as it is now—remains the people of Canada and China. Together, we share long-standing connections that took root well before the establishment of diplomatic relations. These connections and the extraordinary contributions of Canadians of Chinese origin to Canada will outlive political cycles and continue to bring diversity and depth to our relationship for decades to come.”


Syrine Khoury
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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