Canada, China sign law enforcement agreements during Li visit

September 24, 2016 4:53 PM EDT

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks to Montreal businessmen at the 6th China-Canada Economic & Trade Cooperation Forum in Montreal, Canada September 23, 2016. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi


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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada and China signed three law enforcement accords among the 29 agreements made during Premier Li Keqiang's Canadian visit, the countries said in a joint statement on Saturday.

One agreement concerned the "sharing and return of forfeited assets" and another, cooperation between border agencies, according to the statement posted on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's website.

A third agreement was a memorandum of understanding on "combating crime" between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Ministry of Public Security of China. The statement offered few other details.

Li visited Canada from Wednesday to Saturday.

Trudeau, a Liberal elected last year, is trying to improve ties and increase trade with China, the world's second-largest economy, after a decade of rocky relations under his Conservative predecessor.

The countries on Thursday settled a trade dispute and said they would start exploratory talks on a free trade pact.

Both nations are talking about an extradition treaty, which China has long wanted so it can press for the return of what it says are corrupt officials who fled to Canada. Human rights advocates oppose this, citing what they say is a flawed Chinese justice system.

Trudeau's press secretary, Cameron Ahmad, said the prime minister's office did not have details on hand about the law enforcement agreements and forwarded questions to Public Safety Canada. The department, which handles federal law enforcement, did not immediately respond.

The Chinese embassy in Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The statement, which carried Friday's date, was posted online on Saturday because the agreements were finalized late on Friday, Ahmad said.

In the statement, the countries said also they want to double two-way visits by 2025 based on 2015 statistics and agreed to cooperate in fields including science, sports, trade and aviation.

(Reporting by Ethan Lou in Toronto; Editing by Matthew Lewis)



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