WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden on Friday mistakenly praised China while delivering a speech to the Canadian parliament, evoking laughter from those in attendance, reports Kyodo News. The 80-year-old president, who is often criticised for making gaffes, confused Canada with China. Today, I applaud China for stepping up, he said while speaking about Canada’s immigration policy.
Biden immediately corrected himself and said, Excuse me, I applaud Canada...You can tell what I’m thinking — about China, triggering more laughter. I won’t get into that yet.
Making his first visit to Canada since taking office in January 2021, Biden said that the challenges include disruptive actions such as economic coercion, non-market policies and practices, and human rights abuses.
Biden has repeatedly said China’s growing clout poses the greatest strategic challenge in the Indo-Pacific region and elsewhere, and winning the competition against the Asian power is a top priority for his administration.
In recent years, relations between Canada and China have been tense. China was infuriated when Huawei Technologies’ chief financial officer was detained in late 2018 in Vancouver on a US warrant for bank fraud.
In November last year, Canada released a new Indo-Pacific strategy in which it characterised China as an increasingly disruptive global power.