Will Canada become the next member of the East Asia Summit?

Will Canada become the next member of the East Asia Summit?
Photo Credit To Mark R. Cristino/Reuters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
before the opening ceremony of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently came back from a trip to Manila, where the 15th East Asia Summit was held. At the outset of the most important meeting of the ASEAN, Justin Trudeau claimed that Canada was ready to work with the South East Asian nations as early as possible.


The second largest country in the world has been an ASEAN ”dialogue partner” since 1977. However, this status does not allow Canada to be part of its most important annual meeting, the East Asia Summit, launched in 2005. In addition to joining this Asian multilateral forum, the government of Canada has clearly expressed its desire to be part of the ADMM-Plus (ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus), a forum created in 2010 to oversee regional security matters. If accepted, Canada would be the 19th state to join both forums, alongside traditional allies such as United States, Australia and Japan.

“Canada is a Pacific country, as you well know, and being able to engage on broader issues of security, of development, of human rights, of economic opportunity, broader than just the APEC group, is very much in line with how Canada wants to and should engage constructively with the region and, indeed, with the world”
 
-Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Canada has a long history of multilateral relations with East Asian countries. In 1977, Canada became an ASEAN dialogue partner. In 2011, the Canada-ASEAN Joint Declaration on Trade and Investment was adopted to exchange information and promote trade and investments between the states of ASEAN and Canada. In 2016, trade between ASEAN countries and Canada amounted to $21.6 billion.

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