Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault speaks during media availability at the Climate Positive Energy Initiative conference in Toronto on Thursday, Aug.10, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Arlyn McAdorey

Steven Guilbeault to become first cabinet minister to visit China since 2018

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault will travel to China on a diplomatic mission later this month, even as politicians in Ottawa continue to negotiate a public inquiry into alleged foreign interference.

Guilbeault will be in Beijing from Aug. 26 to 31 in what will be the first official visit of a Canadian cabinet minister to China since 2018.

A spokesperson for Guilbeault says the world is faced with the “triple crisis” of climate change, pollution and biodiversity, which can only be handled through urgent international co-operation.

His office said the minister will attend a meeting of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development while in Beijing.

Guilbeault’s office noted that he and his Chinese counterpart, Huang Runqiu, strengthened their ties when their countries co-hosted the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in Montreal in December.

Despite that example of co-operation, relations between the two countries have been tense ever since the 2018 arrest of Chinese tech executive Meng Wanzhou, which led to a legal dispute with foreign-policy implications that still reverberate.