Canada launched its long-anticipated "Indo-Pacific" strategy on Sunday, outlining 2.3 billion Canadian dollars ($1.7 billion) in spending to boost military and cyber security in the region and vowed to deal with a "disruptive" China, while working with it on climate change and trade issues.
That China is mentioned more than 50 times in the 26-page document and is described as an "increasingly disruptive global power" that seeks to "shape the international order into a more permissive environment for interests and values that increasingly depart from ours" underscores the increasingly confrontational stance that Ottawa has taken toward China and its willingness to continue to be used as a chess piece in the United States-orchestrated geopolitical game to contain China.
Sino-Canadian ties have been on a downward spiral in recent years, mainly because Ottawa has abandoned its long-held foreign policy of cooperation and engagement with China and started to run Washington's anti-China errands, as evidenced in the arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in December 2018 at the behest of the US, which alleged she violated US sanctions against Iran.
The tough stance the Canadian government is taking toward China and its allegations of coercive behavior that undermines its national security interests and those of partners in the region, in addition to its decision earlier this month to order Chinese investors to divest from three lithium mining companies under Canada's tougher foreign investment rules, have sent the already frosty bilateral relationship to an even lower level.
Ottawa's confrontational strategy is justified by a parroting of Washington's smear that China's behaviors and policies erode the existing rules-based international order. But this is because it has put all its eggs in the US basket.
As the world's second-largest economy and largest manufacturing power and trading nation, it is natural that China should be making large-scale investments in the region that have strengthened its economic influence and diplomatic impact.
Yet to conclude from this that the country is becoming a disruptive international power is to disregard the fact that it seeks win-win cooperation and its consistent calls for countries to build a community with a shared future.
Whether from a political, economic or security perspective, China does not pose any threat to Canada. Rather, it is Canada that is set to boost its naval presence tens of thousands of kilometers away in the Asia-Pacific region and plans to increase its "military engagement and intelligence capacity" there in the name of "mitigating coercive behavior and threats to regional security".
Such provocative moves run counter to the common interests of the two countries, given that they have enjoyed long-term friendly exchanges, and that Canada was one of the first Western countries to establish diplomatic relations with China.
Ottawa should adopt a more objective and long-term perspective in handling its relations with China, its second-largest trading partner, and seek to work with Beijing to get bilateral relations back on a healthy track, rather than pandering to Washington's zero-sum game.