The Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, will begin tomorrow a tour of several Asian countries to strengthen economic ties between Canada and the Asia-Pacific, government spokesmen said today.
Harper intends to be in Thailand, Japan and South Korea from 23 to 27 March in the company of their Foreign Ministers, John Baird, International Trade, Ed Fast, Agriculture, Gerry Ritz and International Cooperation, Bev Oda.
The associate director of communications for Harper, Andrew MacDougall, said during a news conference that trade and security are the two main themes for the tour.
MacDougall said that Canada is interested in exporting to Asia’s controversial oil extracted from oil sands deposits in Alberta.
The Canadian energy sector plans to build in the coming years a pipeline to connect the sites, estimated to contain one of the largest oil reserves in the world with the Pacific coast of the country to facilitate their sale to Asian markets.
The pipeline has the opposition in the country from environmental groups and indigenous organizations.
Canadian Prime Minister said through a statement that “Canada continues to deepen its strategic relations with Asia to create jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity for Canadians.”
“With the global economic recovery still fragile, I explore new ways to strengthen our relationship with Thailand and Japan,” said Harper.
Canadian Prime Minister will visit Thailand from 23 to 24 March and will meet with his Thai counterpart, Yingluck Shinawatra.
Harper will then travel to Japan to officially visit the country on 25 and 26 March. In Japan, Harper will meet with Prime Minister, Yoshihiko Noda, and around Sendai visit, the most affected by the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011.
Finally, Harper will visit South Korea from 26 to 27 March to participate in the Nuclear Safety Summit to be held in the South Korean capital with the assistance of the leaders of more than 50 countries.