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Politics Harper to attend part of APEC summit during China trip

Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa October 29, 2014.

CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS

Stephen Harper says he will now find time to attend at least part of the APEC summit in Beijing as part of his third official visit to China next week.

The trip will include meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the most powerful man in China, and run November 5 to 10.

The Canadian Prime Minister initially announced he would skip the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation meeting in order to be home for November 11 Remembrance Day ceremonies after the slayings of two soldiers on home soil last week. APEC meetings run for a number of days in November but the major summit between leaders is November 10 and 11.

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Now, the Prime Minister's Office says Mr. Harper will make an appearance at the APEC meeting.

"On November 10, the Prime Minister will also participate in some elements of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting in Beijing before returning to Canada for Remembrance Day ceremonies," a statement said.

During the trip, Mr. Harper is first travelling to Hangzhou, near Shanghai, to promote Canada-China trade and then will proceed to Beijing to meet with Mr. Xi.

The Prime Minister's Office described the trip as an opportunity to "set the direction for the future of the Canada-China relationship."

Canada-China relations have been strained by allegations of hacking and spying.

The Harper government publicly blamed Beijing for hacking Canadian government computers in July and weeks later the Chinese detained two ex-patriate Canadians for allegedly stealing state military secrets.

Canadian authorities also see Beijing's taking of Kevin and Julia Garratt into custody as reprisal for the arrest of Su Bin, a Chinese immigrant to Canada suspected of masterminding the electronic theft of U.S. fighter jet secrets. Washington is pressing Canada to extradite Mr. Su to the United States.

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The Prime Minister's last official visit to China was in February, 2012, and Mr. Xi has not journeyed to Canada since taking office.

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