Canada's Trudeau Visits South Korea

    Canada's Trudeau Visits South Korea
    Last updated May 17, 2023
    Image credit: AP [via CBC]


    • Canadian PM Justin Trudeau arrived in Seoul for his first official visit to South Korea on Tuesday, with China and economic security set to top the agenda. Trudeau is to meet with South Korean Pres. Yoon Suk-yeol, as Canada's Foreign Affairs and Innovation ministers will also meet with their South Korean counterparts.[1]
    • Trudeau is scheduled to address the National Assembly on Wednesday, and to take part in Korean War commemorations. Discussions will include a youth mobility program between the two nations, encouraging economic investment in Canada, and increasing South Korean imports of Canadian natural gas and minerals.[2]
    • Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly has stated she hopes the two nations could become the "best of friends." Lim Woongsoon, South Korea's ambassador to Canada, stated that overreliance on Chinese supply chains was a concern in South Korea, suggesting energy and trade would be a primary focus.[3]
    • China looms large over the trip as the two nations get set to further strengthen security ties, including via an intelligence sharing program. China and Canada have recently expelled diplomats in a tit-for-tat manner, with Beijing recently rebuking Yoon for his comments on Taiwan.[4]
    • The Canadian delegation is also hoping to meet with Korean business leaders, who are crucial to restarting the construction of an LG battery factory in Canada previously halted because, LG claimed, of a lack of financial support from the government.[1]
    • Trudeau is scheduled to remain in South Korea until the end of the week, when he and Yoon will both head to Japan for the G-7 summit.[5]


    Anti-China narrative

    China's increasingly antagonistic actions on the world stage are driving away once reliable trading partners. As part of Canada's Indo-Pacific Strategy, the middle power is pivoting away from their reliance on China towards other East- and South- Asian nations. Trudeau is making this geopolitical intention a reality, as a warm welcome in South Korea shows that fealty to China is not required to cultivate fruitful and meaningful ties in the region.

    Pro-China narrative

    Canada and the G-7 are blindly following the lead of America instead of doing what is best for their citizens. Their wanton anti-China crusade is being shoehorned into benign trade negotiations to the detriment of us all. South Korea should remember who their most important trading ally is, and refuse to take part in any needless provocations that put their economic security at risk.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 15% chance that there will be a full-scale war between North Korea and South Korea by 2050, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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