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Canada urged to join allies in tougher China stance after Kovrig, Spavor release


The aftermath of Canada’s long fight with China over the imprisonment of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig has spawned a new challenge: whether to join allies such as the United States and Australia in taking a more confrontational stance toward China.

Some analysts saw hints of a potentially tougher approach in what appeared to be a throwaway line in a congratulatory note that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent to his new Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, this past week.

Trudeau twice used the label “Indo-Pacific” to stress the importance of co-operating with Japan on shared regional interests.

For some observers, that was a signal that Canada was moving toward a tougher posture in future relations with China.

Paul Evans, a China expert at the University of British Columbia, said the use of that label — Indo-Pacific — denoted a subtle but distinct shift in how Canada traditionally viewed the region.

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