Ottawa Needs Asia Strategy, Stronger Relations with China and India

Vancouver, B.C. – February 28, 2011 – While 98% of Canadians engaged with Asia see the brightest economic prospects in China, only 38% view current Canada-China relations in a positive light. This is well behind Canada’s relations with other G20 Asian countries, notably Japan and Australia, according to an opinion panel report published today by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.

The Points of View Asia-Pacific opinion poll is the first to survey Canadians who are engaged with Asia through professional, academic and family interests. Over 80% of opinion panel members have business and professional interests related to Asia. This group of "Asia Practitioners" described Canada’s overall current relations with Asia as lukewarm. Some 86% of opinion panel members argued that Ottawa’s top policy priority for 2011 should be focused on developing a foreign policy strategy specifically for Asia.

“This unique and authoritative group of Asia practitioners is sending a clear message that Canada needs a stronger focus on key Asian markets and with the region as a whole,” noted Mr. Yuen Pau Woo, president and CEO of APF Canada. “Panel members are overwhelmingly of the view that Canada-China and Canada-India relations should move up the government’s priority ladder.” 

The survey, which gathered views from 275 members of the Points of View Asia-Pacific opinion panel, also revealed that among the top security concerns in the region, 86% viewed political instability in Pakistan as the most pressing peace and security risk, while the conflict on the Korean peninsula followed closely behind at 75%. Interestingly, given the tone of U.S.-China relations in recent times, comparatively few saw the deterioration of U.S.-China relations (37%), the modernization of China’s military capabilities (38%), or the strengthening of U.S. military alliances in Asia as significant threats to regional security.

On the economic front, Japan was viewed as having the bleakest economic prospects out of its six G20 Asian counterparts (32% positive). However, Canada’s current relations with Japan ranked second highest, with 69% of Canadians viewing it in a positive light.

The full survey results on the economic and security outlook for Asia in 2011, the state of Canada’s relations with key countries in Asia, and the priority areas for Canadian government policy in Asia, can be viewed here.

The Points of View Asia-Pacific is an opinion panel of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada comprised of 622 individuals who are connected to or engaged in Asia through professional, academic or personal interests. It is a unique medium through which Canada’s growing community of Asia practitioners can voice their opinions and views on policy issues of the day that relate to Canada’s relations with Asia. Surveys on issues related to Canada-Asia relations will be issued on a bi-monthly basis. Data was collected between February 3-16, 2011 with a total of 275 people completing all or part of the survey questionnaire. The response rate for this survey is 44%. The margin of error for the total sample of 275 is ±5.9%, 19 times out of 20. For more information on the profile of Points of View Asia-Pacific panel members, click here.

 

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About APF Canada

The Asia Pacific Foundation is an independent resource for Canadians on contemporary Asia and Canada-Asia relations. As a national not-for-profit organization established by an Act of the Federal Parliament in 1984, the Foundation brings together people and knowledge to provide the most current and comprehensive research, analysis and information on Asia and on Canada's transpacific relations. It promotes dialogue on economic, security, political and social issues, helping to inform public policy, the Canadian public and Canada’s Asia practitioners. The Foundation is funded principally through an endowment from the Government of Canada and by corporate and individual donors.

 

For additional information, please contact:

Trang Nguyen
Communications Manager
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
Tel: 604-630-1540
Email: trang.nguyen@asiapacific.ca

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