China’s President Xi Jinping has accused Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of leaking their G20 meeting moments.
The Canadian media filmed the Chinese president, sharing a candid moment with the Canadian president on Wednesday. Xi was in conversation with Trudeau using Mandarin in a very friendly way but its English translation has offended the Chinese premier.
The video showed Jinping criticizing the Canadian PM over their “leaked discussions”. The video was filmed many days after the two leaders met for the first time in years behind closed doors during the G20 summit in Indonesia’s province of Bali.
Xi and Trudeau’s confrontation
President Jinping, while accusing Trudeau via a translator, told him that the act was “inappropriate” while accusing him of lacking “sincerity”. While translating Xi’s words, the translator said, “Everything we’ve discussed has been leaked to the papers and that is not appropriate.”
He was probably referring to reports that Mr. Trudeau had brought up alleged Chinese spying and election meddling during the meeting.
The incident has shown Xi in stark contrast to the way he is shown by the Chinese media which has always been careful about depicting him in front of the camera.
Justin Trudeau replied to Xi’s comments with a smile and nod of his head and said, “In Canada, we believe in free and open and frank dialogue and that is what we will continue to have. But it’s extremely important we continue to stand up for the things that are important for Canadians”. He further said, “We will continue to look to work constructively together but there will be things we disagree on.”
The Chinese president did not let the Canadian PM finish and cut him midway and asked him to first “create the conditions”. He finished confronting Trudeau, shook his hand, and walked away.
The meeting, however short, exposed the tensions between China and Canada growing strong since the detention of Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou in 2018, along with the arrest of two Canadians accused of spying by China. However, all these people were later released.
However, tensions recently returned as a result of Yuesheng Wang’s arrest, a Hydro-Quebec employee who was charged with espionage.
Their meeting comes at a time when Xi pushes for China’s global influence at the summit, after disappearing from the world scene for three years.