Harper comes to China

Well, after all my griping about how hard it is to get the time of day from anybody in Canada on China, the sought-after day is upon us.  Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada has arrived in China.  And good on him.  According to the Global Times,

“Harper is the last leader of the Group of Eight to visit China, and Chinese leaders have barely visited Canada since Harper took office,” said Jin Canrong, vice dean of the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China.

In a fit of excitement, the Chinese government has dropped the pork ban on Canadian pork that has been in place since the word “Swine” was attached to the word “Flu” that somehow showed up on an Albertan farm.  Now that everybody’s got H1N1, I guess the ban just doesn’t seem so important now.  Or maybe it’s the warming relations.  Regardless, I guess the Prime Minister is probably licking his lips at the thought of a nice Canadian pork chop or – even better – some Canadian yu xiang rou si.  I sure am.

And what do we hope to accomplish?

Well, as the Toronto Star astutely points out, “Harper is no visionary Pierre Trudeau, or Jean Chrétien Team Canada deal-seeker.”  That’s not big news.  The interesting bit is that:

Canadian officials are working overtime to keep expectations in check. It’s all about “building relationships and strengthening ties” as Canada prepares to chair the Group of Eight next year, host the G-20, and mark 40 years of diplomatic relations with China.

Well, let’s see what happens.  It seems that China is willing to give everybody a chance, even guys like Stephen Harper who have hugged the DL and seem to enjoy poking China in the eye about human rights.  So, let’s see if Harper has gotten the message and does actually manage to open up a new phase of warm and happy feelings between China and Canada.

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