Xi and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were speaking through a translator at the global confab on the Indonesian island of Bali when the Chinese leader smiled as he delivered the scolding. Xi was apparently steamed about media reports that Trudeau had raised “serious concerns” about alleged espionage and alleged Chinese interference in Canadian elections when the pair met on Tuesday.
“Everything we discussed was leaked to the paper(s), that’s not appropriate,” Xi said through the interpreter. “That is not appropriate, and that’s not the way the conversation was conducted.
“If there is sincerity, we can communicate well with mutual respect, otherwise the outcome will not be easy to tell,” Xi, speaking Mandarin, added.
The Cdn Pool cam captured a tough talk between Chinese President Xi & PM Trudeau at the G20 today. In it, Xi express his displeasure that everything discussed yesterday “has been leaked to the paper(s), that’s not appropriate… & that’s not the way the conversation was conducted” pic.twitter.com/Hres3vwf4Q
— Annie Bergeron-Oliver (@AnnieClaireBO) November 16, 2022
Trudeau’s office did not release a readout of the Tuesday conversation, but his version of the discussion was widely reported in Canada and characterized him as being tough with Xi. Chinese state media did not report on their closed-door talks, although the Chinese foreign ministry said that Xi held nine formal bilateral meetings with other heads of state while at the summit.
Trudeau responded to Xi’s complaint about leaks with a pledge to continue their dialogue.
“In Canada we believe in free and open and frank dialogue and that is what we will continue to have,” Trudeau said. “We will continue to look to work constructively together, but there will be things we disagree on – ”
An exasperated Xi cut Trudeau off, saying, “Create the conditions, create the conditions, OK?”
He shook Trudeau’s hand and walked away.
Tensions between Canada and China hit a boiling point in 2018 when Canada detained Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou, and China responded by arresting two Canadians on spying charges. All three were later released.
On Monday, Canadian police said an employee at Hydro-Quebec, Canada’s largest electricity producer, was charged with espionage for allegedly trying to steal trade secrets.