China-Canada clash caught on camera shows Xi confront Trudeau over leaks
By Jennifer Jett
17 November 2022
China sought to play down a diplomatic dispute with Canada on Thursday after video emerged of President Xi Jinping rebuking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over alleged leaks, offering a candid insight into a tense interaction between world leaders.
The frosty exchange, in which Xi complained that details of a conversation with Trudeau had been leaked, was shared widely on social media after the media pool captured it on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit of leading industrial and emerging nations on the Indonesian island of Bali.
The video highlighted tense relations between the two countries and provided a rare glimpse into the personal style of Xi, whose image is carefully managed by Beijing.
It shows Xi rebuking Trudeau over alleged leaks from a 10-minute conversation the two leaders had Tuesday, their first meeting in more than three years.
“Everything we discussed has been leaked to the paper. That’s not appropriate,” a smiling Xi told Trudeau through a translator. “And that’s not the way the conversation was conducted.
“If there is sincerity, we can communicate well with mutual respect,” he continued. “Otherwise the outcome will not be easy to tell.”
Trudeau responded: “In Canada, we believe in free and open and frank dialogue, and that is what we will continue to have. We will continue to look to work constructively together, but there will be things we will disagree on.”
“Let’s create the conditions first,” Xi replied before shaking Trudeau’s hand and walking away.
Xi’s annoyance appeared to stem from news reports that Trudeau had raised “serious concerns” about suspected Chinese interference in Canadian affairs in their conversation Tuesday. The reports were attributed to anonymous Canadian government sources and have not been verified by NBC News.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said the video showed a “normal” conversation between the two leaders.
“I don’t think it should be interpreted as President Xi criticizing anyone or accusing anyone,” she said at a regular news briefing Thursday.
Mao said that China never interferes in other countries’ internal affairs and that it was up to Canada to improve relations.