Chinese leader Xi Jinping confronted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Wednesday over alleged leaks about their one-on-one meeting, according to video of the incident.
The meeting was apparently sparked after Reuters quoted Canadian government sources as saying Trudeau held a side meeting with Xi on Tuesday, their first in more than three years. During it, Trudeau reportedly expressed concerns about Chinese interference in Canadian elections.
“Everything we discussed was leaked in the papers, and it’s not appropriate,” Xi said while appearing to force a smile in comments translated by an interpreter. “That was not the way the conversation was conducted.”
“That’s not how you do it, is it?” If there is sincerity on your part, then we will conduct our discussions with mutual respect,” Xi said in footage from a G20 break obtained by CTV News Channel’s Annie Bergeron-Oliver, a journalist accompanying Trudeau. .
The Chinese interpreter failed to fully translate all of Xi’s Chinese into English. After Xi said “this is inappropriate” while shaking his head in apparent disapproval, he gave Trudeau one last look, spread both hands and shook his head again while pronouncing “if not the results could be unpredictable”.
Between Xi’s two statements, Trudeau tried to stress the importance of open communication between leaders. “In Canada, we believe in free, open and frank dialogue and that is what we will continue to have,” he said. “We will continue to seek to work together constructively, but there will be things we disagree on.”
However, halfway through listening to his interpreter’s translation of Trudeau’s speech, Xi noticed the cameras nearby. Xi then repeated the phrase “Let’s create the conditions” twice, shook hands with Trudeau and quickly left.
A Reuters report revealed on Tuesday that the meeting between Trudeau and Xi was preceded by the arrest of an employee of Canada’s largest electricity company. The man was accused of stealing trade secrets for China.
At a routine press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning declined to comment on the incident.
Translated by Chase Bodiford. Edited by Malcolm Foster.