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Trudeau wants seat at table

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a sales pitch to core members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Tuesday in hope they will open the door to Canada joining their exclusive and influential circle.

Trudeau said Canada looks forward to becoming a member of the association's East Asia Summit and the ASEAN defence ministers panel at the earliest opportunity.

"Canada is not only willing, but ready to be a key partner for the next 50 years," Trudeau said in a speech in Manila, Philippines, at a special ASEAN-Canada summit in front of leaders of an alliance that includes Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar.

"This would allow Canada to become a full and dynamic partner of ASEAN."

With the appearance, Trudeau became the first Canadian prime minister to participate in the one-hour exchange at the ASEAN summit, during which members were to ask him questions and debate the depth of Canada's co-operation in the region.

The opportunity arrives as Trudeau makes efforts to raise Canada's international profile and demonstrate it can wrestle with complicated challenges, at home and abroad. His government has also been building a case with hope it can eventually obtain a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

"There is more than just economics to discuss, and the East Asia Summit has become the central place for discussing Pacific issues," he told a news conference Tuesday.

"Canada is a Pacific country, as you well know, and being able to engage on broader issues of security, of development, of human rights, of economic opportunity — broader than just the APEC group — is very much in line with how Canada wants to and should engage constructively with the region and, indeed, with the world."



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