Canada’s Foreign Policy Toward the People’s Republic of China: Continuity and Change Since 1949
Considering China’s political and economic rise, it is reasonable to argue that a sound foreign policy toward China is a necessity. Given China’s increasing economic importance to Western countries, many scholars argue that an antagonistic view toward China is counterproductive [(Dobson in International Journal 61:299–312, 2006), p. 306]. To better understand the challenges facing Canada in developing a new China policy, this paper returns to the roots of the relationship to understand the evolution of Sino-Canadian relations. The 45 years of this relationship is placed within a framework to explain the underlying causes of its evolution. Through combining contextual factors and path dependency theory this framework suggests that from 1970 until the new millennium, Canada’s prime objective was to encourage China’s integration into the international community. This paramount goal led to a cohesive set of decisions aimed at influencing China positively. Whereas Canada contributed to China’s opening toward the international community, the accomplishment of this goal in the beginning of twenty-first century has left Canada’s China policy in search of a new purpose.
KeywordsForeign Policy World Trade Organization Critical Juncture Conservative Government Diplomatic Relation
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