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Trudeau’s Inaugural Visit to South Korea Focuses on Minerals and Security

During his upcoming visit to South Korea, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will engage in discussions with President Yoon Suk Yeol, with a particular focus on security matters and the significance of critical minerals used in battery production.

The two leaders are scheduled to hold a joint press conference on Wednesday, followed by a formal dinner, as affirmed by Kim Tae-hyo, Yoon’s deputy national security advisor.

Trudeau’s visit holds substantial significance as it marks the first time a Canadian leader has visited South Korea in nine years and coincides with the 60th anniversary of bilateral relations. Both countries are expected to issue a joint statement outlining their collaborative efforts for the next 60 years, indicating a strong commitment to future cooperation.

Key topics of discussion will revolve around expanding cooperation on critical minerals essential for electric vehicle batteries and bolstering intelligence sharing between Canada and South Korea. These areas of cooperation reflect the shared goals of sustainable development and technological advancement in the context of the global transition towards cleaner energy solutions.

“The two leaders will discuss intensively ways to build a norms-based global order including on North Korea’s human rights issues, launching a high-level economic and security dialogue, strengthening cooperation on key minerals,” Kim told reporters.

A comprehensive agreement is anticipated to be signed by President Yoon Suk Yeol and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as revealed by an anonymous South Korean government official speaking to Reuters. This agreement is expected to cover a wide range of areas, including major mineral supply chains, renewable energy conversion, and energy security cooperation. While the details are yet to be finalized, the agreement signifies the commitment of both countries to collaborate closely in these critical areas, fostering sustainable development, and strengthening their mutual energy security.

Canada Set to Boost Electric Vehicle Manufacturing

Canada’s abundant mineral deposits, including lithium, cobalt, and nickel, have propelled the country to actively pursue the expansion of its electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing capabilities. These minerals play a crucial role in the production of batteries for EVs, positioning Canada as a promising participant in the global supply chain for electric vehicle batteries.

Recognizing the economic and environmental advantages, the Canadian government and industry stakeholders are actively seeking to attract investments and forge partnerships to foster the growth of the EV manufacturing sector. They understand the potential benefits of leveraging the country’s rich mineral resources to advance EV manufacturing, contributing to the transition towards cleaner and more sustainable transportation.

During their September meeting, the two presidents demonstrated their commitment to expanding cooperation on mineral supply chains. This shared objective aligns with their collective efforts to combat climate change and reduce emissions, recognizing the critical role that minerals play in the development of clean energy technologies.

By capitalizing on Canada’s mineral resources and promoting collaboration in the EV sector, the country aims to contribute significantly to global efforts in addressing climate change and building a more sustainable future.

Amidst the intensifying rivalry between the United States and China, both Canada and South Korea have been actively engaged in bolstering their security cooperation, including the sharing of intelligence.

The diplomatic relations between Canada and China have faced significant strain since the imprisonment of Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou in 2018, followed by the subsequent arrest of two Canadians on spying charges by Beijing. Consequently, tensions between the two countries have remained elevated.

In a recent escalation, China retaliated against Canada’s expulsion of a Chinese ambassador in Toronto by expelling a Canadian diplomat in Shanghai, further exacerbating the strained relations between the two nations.

While President Yoon Suk Yeol has adopted a cautious approach to diplomacy with China, recognizing its significance as a major trading partner for South Korea, he has been more outspoken regarding tensions in the Taiwan Strait. Last month, exchanges of criticism between Seoul and Beijing unfolded following President Yoon’s remarks in an interview with Reuters.

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