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Wednesday, 28 September 2022
Canadian lawmakers plan Taiwan trip amid rising China tensions
Canada-Flag of Canada/Shutterstock

A delegation of Canadian lawmakers plans to visit Taiwan in October to seek economic opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region, Liberal Member of Parliament Judy Sgro said on Wednesday (Aug 17), a move that could further stoke tensions between China and the West, Reuters reported, the Strait Times said.

Ms Sgro said members of a parliamentary committee on trade have been planning to visit the self-ruled island for some time.

"The intent is not to disrupt and cause problems for Taiwan, or problems for China. It's about trade, it's about friendship, it's about opportunities for Canada, in that whole Asia-Pacific region," Ms Sgro, who heads the trade panel, told Reuters.

She said Canadian lawmakers have visited Taiwan bi-annually in the past but stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"This is part of an ongoing effort for us to ensure that the doors are open for Canadian companies wherever there's trade opportunity," Ms Sgro said.

Night view of taipei city in Taiwan - Pic. Pixabay

Conservative MP and vice-chairman on the trade committee, Mr Randy Hoback, said he would seek guidance from the Canadian foreign ministry before deciding on visiting Taiwan.

"I think we need to get back to normalcy in a lot of things and one of that is in visits and having interaction from country to country," Mr Hoback told Reuters.

U.S. lawmakers visit Taiwan, meet leader despite China's ire

A long-running standoff between Canada and China ended last year when US prosecutors agreed to end a bank fraud case against Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, a high-profile Chinese businesswoman.

She was held under house arrest in Canada during extradition proceedings.

After Ms Meng was freed, China liberated two Canadians who had been held by Beijing on espionage charges.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government said it respected the decision by lawmakers to visit Taiwan.

"Parliamentary associations and friendship groups travel regularly and we respect their independence," Canada's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Nancy Pelosi: U.S. cannot allow China's 'new normal' over Taiwan

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly earlier this month said US-China tensions after Mrs Pelosi's visit could destabilise the Taiwan Strait region and called on Beijing to de-escalate the situation.

The relationship between China and the West has worsened since US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan earlier this month against Beijing's wishes.

China claims Taiwan as its territory and is against foreign politicians visiting the island. Democratically governed Taiwan rejects China's claims.