OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper heads to China this week amid serious divisions in the Conservative ranks over Canada’s relationship with its No. 2 trading partner.
Since Harper’s last visit to China in 2012, the Conservatives cracked down on state-owned Chinese investment in Alberta’s oilsands and have yet to respond to an invitation to negotiate a free-trade agreement with China.
The government also dragged its heels on ratifying a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with the Chinese.
Tensions reached a fever pitch in recent months after Harper accused the Chinese of a cyberattack on the National Research Council, while the Chinese have accused a Canadian couple living in China of spying.
Harper’s itinerary has a heavy focus on trade and economics, with the prime minister leading a Canadian business delegation to the industrial city of Hangzhou on Friday and Saturday.
He then heads to the capital, Beijing, for two more days of meetings.
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