Canada is strengthening its ties with Taiwan as the island nation’s existence falls deeper under threat from belligerent mainland China. 

On Monday, Canada’s international trade minister Mary Ng revealed that the two governments would pursue a foreign investment agreement stemming from a Sunday phone call with Taiwanese minister John Deng.

“The ministers discussed the need for Canada and Taiwan to continue to work together to further promote supply chain resilience and mutually beneficial commercial opportunities, as well as to increase collaboration on science, technology and innovation, education, Indigenous affairs, and the green economy,” a statement by Ng’s office claimed. 

According to Global Affairs data, Taiwan is currently Canada’s sixth-largest trading partner in Asia. As of 2020, investment between the two countries has reached $813 million. 

The Chinese government of Xi Jinping has ramped up its threats towards the neighbouring island state. China considers itself to be the owner of Taiwan despite the nation having a government independent of Beijing. 

Shortly after the New Year, a Chinese official with the Taiwan Affairs Office threatened the nation with “drastic measures” should it continue to seek further independence. 

“If separatist forces in Taiwan seeking independence provoke, exert force or even break through any red line, we will have to take drastic measures,” said Ma Xiaoguang. 

In a New Year’s address, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen pleaded for a peaceful resolution to the recent heated conflicts. 

“We must remind the Beijing authorities to not misjudge the situation and to prevent the internal expansion of ‘military adventurism’,” Tsai said. 

“The military is definitely not an option for solving cross-strait disagreements,” Tsai added. “ Military conflicts would impact economic stability. Our two sides jointly shoulder the responsibility of maintaining regional peace and stability.”

Taiwan has been seeking help from Canada to increase its support from abroad. In October, Taipei Economic Cultural Office Director General Lihsin Angel Liu urged the Canadian government to help Taiwan join more international organizations. 

“We hope that Canada can continue to give us more support regarding our meaningful participation in the [world] public health agency,” said Liu.

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