OTTAWA — Former foreign affairs minister Marc Garneau says Canada should seek closer ties with South Korea, arguing the two countries could help each other gain influence in the strategically important Indo-Pacific.
Garneau is to be appointed next month as the Canadian co-chair of the Canada-Korea Forum, a group dedicated to boosting trade and scientific exchanges between the two countries.
In an interview, the former Liberal minister said Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy is helping it make strides in partnering with other countries in the region, but recent tensions with India show the need to have a range of connections.
South Korea is investing in electric-vehicle battery production in Canada while hoping to import more commodities and liquefied natural gas, and the two have increased commercial ties since they signed a trade deal nearly a decade ago.
But Garneau said they could be doing a lot more trade, and Ottawa should take advantage of the fact that South Korea, Japan and the United States are forming closer ties in the face of an increasingly disruptive government in China.
He added that Ottawa has to catch up with its allies and be more present in the region, arguing Global Affairs Canada has less Asian expertise than Canada’s peer countries do.
Source: The Canadian Press