Canada's PM Stephen Harper in China to Talk Trade

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The Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is currently in China for talks on oil exports and trade. The visit can be seen as a change in attitude for Canada, which has a record of taking a hard stance on the Chinese regime's human rights abuses, as it looks as if economic ties between the two nations are warming. Harper said he still plans to bring up human rights issues during the trip.

The Canadian Prime Minister's plane touched down in Beijing on Tuesday. It's the second time Stephen Harper has visited China since becoming Prime Minister, and he's on a mission to sell Canadian oil.

Currently 97% of Canadian oil exports go to the United States, but with Obama's recent rejection of a pipeline carrying Canadian oil across the continental US, Harper is looking east to emerging markets in Asia and especially China. Harper is with an entourage of 40 Canadian business leaders who will be meeting Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao to discuss trade.

NTD senior China commentator Wen Zhao says Canada's push to sell energy resources is coming at the right time for China.

[Wen Zhao, Senior China Analyst]:
"From last year to today, after incidents in Libya and Iran, the reliability of China's oil imports from the Middle East has been threatened. So for mainland China, they really need a stable and reliable provider of crude oil."

An energy deal between the two countries will also contribute to closing Canada's trade deficit with China.

As with visits by other world leaders to the communist-ruled nation, Harper is under pressure not to let business interests dampen Canadian efforts to pressure the Chinese regime over human rights.