Mélanie Joly promotes Canadian liquefied natural gas in Japan and South Korea

Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says Canada is becoming a major energy supplier to Japan and South Korea.

Ms. Joly, who is visiting these two Asian countries this week, says that beyond an impending megaproject on Canada’s west coast, there is an appetite in Japan and South Korea for Canada’s liquefied natural gas.

A major liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal is scheduled to open in 2025 in Kitimat, British Columbia. Japanese and Korean companies hold a 20% stake in this project.

« We will become a major key energy supplier for them, starting in 2025, » Ms. Joly said in an interview from Seoul on Thursday. There is a lot of interest for all of us to go even further.”

The Liberal minister says such projects will allow Canada to strengthen energy security in the region, where China and Russia are increasingly present.

« Japan and Korea were already very close to Canada, but it is now more than ever in Canada’s interest that they are best friends in the world, » she said.

“We know there is a lot of instability in the world, and when it is, Canada reaches out to the world to create more stability,” added the federal elected official.

The minister said on Thursday that a series of missiles launched by North Korea over Japan this month figured prominently in her talks with Japan and South Korea.

She visited HMCS Vancouver, which is undertaking exercises to monitor sanctions against North Korea « given their reckless actions, » said Minister Joly. This often means watching ships that stop next to each other, to see if cargo or fuel is being transferred.

In September, the ship sailed through the Taiwan Strait alongside a US warship to demonstrate Canada’s position that the area near mainland China is considered international waters.

Ms. Joly’s visit also touched on existing work to make more critical Canadian minerals available to Asian companies that build electric vehicles and parts.

In Tokyo, she launched formal talks aimed at having Canada and Japan share military intelligence.

Mélanie Joly’s week-long visit ends on Saturday. The trip aims to strengthen close ties with allies in Asia as Ottawa develops an « Indo-Pacific Strategy » that is to define Canada’s approach to powerful China.

« The current objective is to lay the foundations of the strategy, » said the minister.

She has previously said a major Chinese Communist Party summit next week will help inform Canada’s « Indo-Pacific Strategy », which she has promised to release by the end of this year.

Opposition parties argued that the strategy was long overdue. Business groups say they need Ottawa to clarify which regions and industries they want closer ties with, and which countries Canada deems riskier.

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