In 1968, the government of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau initiated negotiations with the People's Republic of China that lead to the establishment of diplomatic relations on October 13, 1970. Canada and China established resident diplomatic missions in 1971.
In 1972, Canadian Foreign Minister Mitchell Sharp led a Canadian trade delegation to China and met with Premier Zhou Enlai. Mr. Sharp also travelled to Shijiazhuang where he recognized the significant contribution to Canada-China relations of Norman Bethune.
In 1973, Prime Minister Trudeau became the first Canadian Prime Minister to pay an official visit to the People's Republic of China, laying the basis for the enormous subsequent growth in Canada-China relations that continues to this day.