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Xi Confronts Trudeau Over Media Leaks in Heated Exchange Caught on Camera

Bloomberg News

November 17, 2022

Justin Trudeau attends the G20 leaders' summit in Bali.© Photographer: Achmad Ibrahim/AFP/Getty Images

“Everything we discussed was leaked to the newspapers. That’s not appropriate, and that’s not the way our conversation was conducted, right?” Xi told Trudeau through a translator. “If you are being sincere, we must communicate with mutual respect.”

“If not, I’m not so sure how it will turn out,” Xi added, in a line the translator didn’t say to Trudeau.

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.”


Xi was dismissive, saying: “Let’s create the conditions first.” He then shook the Canadian prime minister’s hand and turned away.

The interaction was recorded by journalists accompanying Trudeau and posted to Twitter by a reporter for CTV National News. The clip wasn’t available on China’s heavily censored social media.

Xi’s comments to Trudeau shouldn’t be interpreted as criticism, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said Thursday at a regular press briefing in Beijing, adding it was “quite normal for the two leaders to talk to each other on the sidelines of G-20.”

She said China hoped “Canada will take concrete actions to create conditions for the improvement of bilateral ties.”

Xi and Trudeau met Tuesday on the sidelines of the G-20. A Reuters report citing a government source later said that Trudeau raised “serious concerns” with Xi over allegations of Chinese interference in Canada’s domestic affairs. Global News said earlier that Canadian intelligence officials suspect China of meddling in the country’s 2019 election.

“Canada needs to be able to engage constructively and directly, while at the same time be there to challenge on human rights and values that matter to Canadians,” Trudeau told journalists after the report about the meeting with Xi was published.

“Not every conversation is going to be easy,” he added.

It was the first time Trudeau and Xi have met in more than three years. Ties between the countries soured after Canada detained Huawei Technologies Co. executive Meng Wanzhou at the request of the US in 2018. Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were later arrested in China and tried for spying.

The two men were released just after Meng was freed last year, though Beijing denied a link between the episodes.

--With assistance from Lucille Liu and Sarah Zheng.

(Updates with comment from China’s Foreign Ministry. An earlier version corrected the name of CTV National News.)

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