A heated confrontation between Jinping and Trudeau over leaked details of their meeting
Chinese President Xi Jinping criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Wednesday’s G-20 summit for revealing details of an earlier meeting where Trudeau expressed concerns about Chinese interference in internal affairs. The two leaders met briefly at the G-20 summit in Indonesia and the media were able to chronicle the confrontation that took place between them. A TV camera behind a Chinese interpreter caught what the two leaders were talking about in full.
Jinping admonished Trudeau, saying, “Everything we discussed leaked to the newspapers; It’s not appropriate.” Xi went on to chide the other person, “That’s not how we had the conversation, if your intention is sincere.” At this point, Trudeau stopped the dialogue and approached Xi and said to him, “In Canada, we believe in one free, open and frank dialogue, and we’re used to that.” Xi looked around while Trudeau spoke. Through the interpreter, Xi replied, “Let’s prepare the ground first.” Then, after this brief confrontation, the two shook hands.
Trudeau spoke to Xi for the first time at the G-20 summit last Tuesday. A senior Canadian government official said the two discussed Russia’s war in Ukraine, North Korea and climate change, and that Trudeau also expressed “our serious concerns about interventionism in Canada.” The officer spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
When later asked about the standoff at a news conference, Trudeau said, “Any conversation will not always be easy, but it is very important that we remain committed to the things that matter to Canadians.” Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolly also said she discussed the Chinese intervention with her Chinese counterpart at the G20. Jolie said last week that China is an “increasingly irritating world power” and warned companies against deepening ties with China as it poses “geopolitical risks”.
On Monday, Canadian police charged a Hydro Quebec employee with espionage for allegedly sending trade secrets to China. Beijing’s ties with Ottawa subsequently collapsed, and Canadian authorities arrested an executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei on charges of fraud by the United States.
China arrested two Canadians shortly after Canada arrested Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, the company’s founder’s daughter, and their arrest was based on a US request to extradite them to him. China sent the Canadian citizens home last year on the same day Canada brought Meng back to China after reaching a settlement with US authorities in her case. Many countries have labeled China’s actions as “hostage policies,” while China has described the charges against Huawei and Meng as a politically motivated attempt to hamper China’s economic and technological development.
For her part, a Chinese spokeswoman yesterday accused Canada of being “condescending” after the sharp confrontation between President Xi Jinping and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, confirming the depth of the deterioration in bilateral relations between the two countries.
“Canada should take concrete measures to create conditions for improving China-Canada relations,” Mao Ning said at a daily briefing. She added that the conversation was “completely normal and should not be interpreted as President Xi criticizing or blaming anyone.”
Mao added that there was a clear lack of respect on the Canadian side.
She said, “China has no problem at all in open dialogue with other countries. But we hope that such an open dialogue is based on equal treatment and mutual respect, rather than condescending criticism of the other.
Mao said nothing Xi said should be interpreted as a threat.
“As you can see from the recording, I think it’s perfectly normal for the two heads of state to have a brief conversation during the G-20 summit…the two sides have just announced their positions,” she added.
“China has no problem at all in maintaining an open dialogue with other countries, but we hope such an open dialogue will be based on equal treatment and mutual respect, rather than criticizing the other in a condescending way.”
“Not every conversation will always be easy, but it’s incredibly important that we continue to stand up for the things that matter to Canadians.”
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