G20 Summit

'Not appropriate': China's Xi scolds Canada's Trudeau in public spat at G20 summit

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping after taking part in the closing session at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia on November 16, 2022. © Sean Kilpatrick, AP

At the G20 summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping reprimanded Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on camera, an unusual public spat that could exacerbate the strained relations between the two countries.

Wednesday, reporters at the world leaders' summit in Bali captured footage of Xi reprimanding Trudeau after details of their conversation were leaked to the media.

Trudeau raised the issue of Chinese "interference" with Canadian citizens with Xi on Tuesday, after Ottawa in recent weeks accused Beijing of interfering with its democratic and judicial systems.

In the one-minute video clip captured on the sidelines of the Indonesian summit, Xi says through an interpreter to Trudeau, "Everything we discussed has been leaked to the papers. That is not appropriate."

Xi says with an even tone and a slight smile: "And that's not the way (our discussion) was conducted, was it?"

"If there is sincerity, we can have conversations based on an attitude of mutual respect. Otherwise, the results will be unpredictable," Looking directly at Trudeau, he continues.

Xi then attempts to walk past Trudeau, but Trudeau responds: "In Canada, we believe in free, 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 disagree on," he says to Xi.

Xi interrupts him by raising his hands and saying, "Create the conditions, create the conditions."

The man then smiles broadly, barely glancing at Trudeau as he shakes his hand and sends his counterpart out of the room.

It is unclear when, if ever, Xi realizes the conversation is being recorded.

'Awkward Position'

Van Jackson, the senior lecturer in international relations at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, compared the tone to "a great power speaking to a less-great power."

Jackson told AFP, "Xi's language and body posture was not unusual for government officials who are on less than friendly terms -- in private."

Tensions between China and the United States place Canada in a "specially awkward position," he said, adding that Ottawa's "embeddedness in the network of Anglo-Saxon, intelligence-sharing democracies all but ensures it will draw China's ire more and more as time passe."

The meeting between Xi and Trudeau on Tuesday was the first face-to-face interaction between the two leaders since 2019.

The Canadian federal police announced last week that they were investigating alleged police stations illegally established by Beijing in North America.

Trudeau also stated last week that China was engaging in "aggressive games" after Canadian broadcaster Global News reported that Beijing was funding a "secret network" of federal election candidates.

When Canadian authorities arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in 2018 on suspicion of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran, relations between the two countries froze solid.

Two Canadians, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were subsequently detained in China by the Chinese government, in what critics termed a "tick-for-tick" response.

Meng and the two Canadians were released after protracted negotiations last year.

Publish : 2022-11-17 15:15:00

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