By Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Beijing - President Hu Jintao leaves Beijing on Wednesday for a short state visit to Canada to improve ties and tap the potential for the two countries to cooperate better on a range of global issues.
Hu is also scheduled to attend the G20 meeting in Toronto from June 26 to 27 and join others in pushing for global economic recovery and financial reform.
The strained ties between Beijing and Ottawa started to warm when Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited China last December.
Ottawa had aggressively criticized Beijing for its human rights record, but after the financial meltdown last year its tone softened slightly, asserting that "new global realities demand a modernized Canada-China relationship" and it began to downplay rights-related issues.
It is the first visit by the Chinese president since Harper and his Conservative party took power in 2006.
Harper and Hu will meet on Thursday to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of common interest, according to the prime minister's office.
"Canada and China are laying the groundwork for a new decade of growth by deepening cooperation in a wide number of areas," Harper said in a statement released earlier.