Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a heated exchange of words at the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Indonesia’s Bali on Wednesday over an alleged “leak” of details of their informal talks to the media.
A visibly miffed Xi told Trudueu “everything that we discussed was leaked, that is not appropriate… not the way the conversation was conducted,” the Chinese language translator at the scene was heard saying. Trudeau responded by saying he believes in a “free, open and fair dialogue.” He adds, “We will continue to work constructively together. There will be things we will disagree upon in the future.”
The Chinese premier responded by saying “that’s great but there should be conditions first.” The leaders then shook hands and walked in opposite directions.
The exchange of words came a day after the two held meetings on the sidelines of the G20 summit. While Canada released an official statement on the talks, China refrained from commenting on the same.
According to official statement released by the prime minister’s office on Tuesday, the two leaders discussed North Korea and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Prime Minister Trudeau “also raised our serious concerns around interference activities in Canada”, a reference to a recent report by Canadian media outlet Global News that alleged that China was “targeting Canada with a vast campaign of foreign interference”, including through meddling in the country’s 2019 elections.
Following the report, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had on Monday arrested Yuesheng Wang in the Quebec province for espionage, accusing the 35-year-old of obtaining trade secrets to benefit the Chinese government.
The China-Canada relationship has been strained over the past few years and deteriorated after Canadian authorities detained Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou in 2018 on a US arrest warrant. China responded by arresting two Canadians on spying charges.
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