China’s Xi Jinping lectures Justin Trudeau at G20 on alleged leak
On Wednesday, Chinese leader Xi Jinping was captured by Canadian broadcasters in a rare candid moment, where he was filmed berating his Canadian counterpart, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, for what he described as talks « leaks ».
On the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia, Xi chatted with Trudeau in Mandarin with a smile. But the English translation of what he said was a little less friendly.
« Everything we discussed was leaked in the newspapers and it’s not appropriate, » Xi’s translator said.
Trudeau nods and Xi resumes speaking. « And that’s not how the conversation went, » the translator said.
« If there was sincerity on your part, then we will conduct our discussion with an attitude of mutual respect, otherwise there may be unpredictable consequences, » Xi told the Canadian leader in Mandarin.
Xi’s translator attempts to translate what was said, only arriving at « If there was any sincerity on your part », before being interrupted by Trudeau.
« In Canada, we believe in free, open and frank dialogue, » Trudeau said, adding « we will continue to work together constructively, but there will be things we will not agree on. »
« Let’s create the conditions first, » the translator on behalf of Xi said in the video. The Chinese leader then shakes Trudeau’s hand and walks away with his entourage.
The exchange offers a rare glimpse into how Xi, whose highly choreographed public appearances, interacts with other leaders.
Not all conversations will be « easy, » Trudeau said Wednesday, according to a statement he gave to reporters after the exchange.
“But it is extremely important that we continue to stand up for the things that are important to Canadians. This is something we always do and will continue to do,” Trudeau said.
Their exchange comes as Xi seeks to reassert China’s global influence at the Bali island summit after a nearly three-year absence from the world stage.
China’s relations with US allies have deteriorated to varying degrees in recent years, due to rising geopolitical tensions, trade disputes and the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the partnership growing Beijing with Moscow – despite Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Xi sought to restore relations at the summit, meeting with US President Joe Biden on Monday. He also held official talks with the leaders of Australia, France, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Senegal, Argentina, Indonesia and South Korea.
Canada was denied such a meeting, and the snub could be linked to the volatile relations between the countries since Huawei’s top executive Meng Wanzhou was detained in Canada in 2018. Two Canadians were detained nine days later in China. All three were released in 2021.