Mission to China - Minister Lisée makes case to Chinese authorities for a direct flight between Montréal and Beijing

BEIJING, October 16, 2013 - During a series of meetings in Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Commerce, Education, and Science and Technology, Minister Jean-François Lisée expressed a desire to enhance economic, academic and institutional relations with China.

The Minister reiterated that Québec is by far the most firmly established Canadian province in China. The Chinese Consulate-General, which opened in 2011, and, more recently, the opening of a Bank of China branch in Montréal last week will further contribute to heightening relations.

“However, we lack an essential tool for accelerating the expansion of our relations: regular direct flights between Beijing and Montréal,” said the Minister Lisée.

The Minister stressed the need to establish a direct air link during a speech he gave at the General Assembly of the Canada-China Business Council before an audience of 350 Chinese, Québec and Canadian business people.

The subject was also on the agenda of a meeting with Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird. The situation of Québec Greenpeace activist Alexandre Paul, imprisoned in Murmansk, Russia, was also discussed. Mr. Lisée and Mr. Baird agreed to coordinate their efforts in support of Mr. Paul. “It is increasingly obvious to the international community that the charges against Mr. Paul and his 30 co-defendants are clearly exaggerated,” argued Mr. Lisée.

The Minister is leading a delegation to China consisting of eighty people working primarily in the green building, fashion, performing arts and education sectors.

The Minister was present at the signing of agreements between Québec and Chinese organizations (details in appendix) during a reception marking the 15th anniversary of the Québec Government Office in Beijing.

Discussions with Chinese government stakeholders were held regarding the environment, green buildings, electrification of transportation, video games, personalized medicine and northern development.

It was agreed with China’s Ministry of Education to establish a working group to maximize the presence of Chinese students in Québec and Québec students in China.

In addition, the Minister and the President of the Beijing Foreign Studies University, Yang Xueyi, agreed to encourage greater student mobility at the master’s level.

The Québec delegation will end its mission to China in Shanghai, where it will promote Québec know-how in the green building, fashion and cultural sectors and where several agreement signings are scheduled.

Appendix - Agreements signed in Beijing between Québec and Chinese partners:

  • Agreement between Alliance Numérique and the China Cultural Industry Demonstration Bases Association to promote collaboration between Québec and Chinese video game industries;
  • Agreement between McGill University and the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications to strengthen existing ties and establish a framework for new collaboration in research and training;
  • Agreement for a new project between Novalux and CAEG to create a martial arts show entitled “IMMORTAL CHI: the Quest for Balance” to be fully funded by China’s Ministry of Culture.

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