For the record,
- CBC News, “Chinese leaders chide Harper“,
- CTV News, “Ottawa waited too long to visit Beijing: premier“
- CCTV 9 (China government control & run), “Background: China-Canada relations“
- Globe & Mail, Transcript of Harper’s exchange with Premier Wen – In an unprecedented diplomatic breach, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao publicly upbraided Prime Minister Stephen Harper today for failing to visit China sooner. (mp3 audio from Globe and Mail)
Transcript via G&M for the record,
Transcript from the statements of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
WEN JIABAO: [Translated] Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcome to paying an official visit to China. This is your first trip to China and this is the first meeting between the Chinese Premier and the Canadian Prime Minister in almost five years. Five years is too long a time for China Canada relations and that is why there are comments in the media that your visit is one that should have taken place earlier.
I remember quoting a Chinese proverb when I gave a speech during my visit to Canada in 2003. The proverb reads, “Common visions and common ideals can bring people together in spite of the thousands of miles that sets them apart.” I expressed the hope that China and Canada will set an example of long term and friendly cooperation between countries different in social systems and level of development.
Mr Prime Minister, your visit this time has a great mission and a special significance. I am willing to have an in depth exchange of views with you on China-Canada relations and major issues of common interest to deepen our mutual understanding and trust and take forward exchanges and cooperation between the two sides in various areas. We hope that through your visit the China Canada relationship will turn a new page.
STEPHEN HARPER: Thank you very much Premier Wen. First of all it’s a delight to be here for the first time and a real honour and pleasure to visit your country. I, as I said earlier, I saw the Great Wall this morning, which is something that I think probably everybody should see before they finish passing through this life and I look forward to seeing many more of the treasures of your country and meeting with the great Chinese people.
We have had diplomatic relations between our two countries for almost forty years which has witnessed tremendous growth in not just trade and investment but interaction of our peoples. I agree with you Premier that five years is a long time. It’s also been almost five years since we’ve had yourself or President Hu in our country, and so I hope as we approach this important milestone in our relationship, the forty year anniversary, that yourself or President Hu will also have the opportunity in the not too distant future to visit Canada.