Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has had a successful visit to China and his visit has become a political issue in the US election campaign.
In terms of atmoshpherics the Canadian leader was treated as a wanted guest. Canada will get two pandas, and like most leaders,Harper was offered a strategic partnership (Portugal got the same offer).
The main importance of the visit was in terms of Canadian exports. Much of the trade will come in the form of energy and uranium exports. There were also technology agreements where the Canadian manufacturer of commuter trains, Bombardier, will supply rail cars while two Canadian telecom giants – Telus and Bell Canada, will be upgrading with equipment purchased from China.
Barack Obama's refusal to give a green light to the Keystone Xl pipeline projects has pushed Canada to seek to sell oil derived from its tar sands to China. Canadian businessman accompanying Harper on this trip were highly satisfied with the results and there was talk of reaching a free-trade agreements between the two countries.
The Chinese have hinted that Canada, despite its relatively good performance during the economic crisis, would be best advised to extend its trade relations with China, as China was assuming the role of the motor in the global economic recovery.
The intensifying Chinese-Canadian trade relations were observed by American politicians, who blame the Obama administration for this development.
Speaking in Columbus, Ohio in preparation for next month's Ohio primary - to which he has attached priority - Newt Gingrich told the crowd that Canada was looking for a new "reliable partner" for Canadian oil, following the regrettable decision by Obama. "Can you imagine an American president so short sighted that he would drive Canada into a partnership with China, yet that's what Obama's doing," Gingrich said. "And that's why the Keystone pipeline decision was such a terribly destructive decision."
A similar theme was sounded by representative John Culberson, who told the Houston Chronicle "It's outrageous and unacceptable to drive our friends the Canadians into the arms of China," he said. "Next to our national debt, the communist Chinese government is the biggest threat to American national security in the 21st century."