Chinese leader Xi Jinping was caught on rare video by CBC on Wednesday berating Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for what he called a “leaked” discussion.
During the G20 summit in Indonesia, Xi Jinping talked with Trudeau with a smile in Mandarin. But the English translation of what he said was a little less friendly.
“Everything we discussed was leaked to the newspaper, which is inappropriate,” Xi’s interpreter said.
Trudeau nodded, and Xi spoke again. “That’s not the way to talk,” said the interpreter.
“If you have sincerity, we will discuss it with mutual respect, otherwise there may be unpredictable consequences,” Xi told the Canadian leader in Mandarin.
Xi’s interpreter tried to translate what was said, only to say “if you have sincerity” before being interrupted by Trudeau.
“In Canada, we believe in free, open and frank dialogue,” Trudeau said, adding, “We will continue to work together constructively, but there are some things on which we disagree.”
“Let’s create the conditions first,” the translator said in the video on Mr. Xi’s behalf. The Chinese leader then shook Trudeau’s hand and left with his entourage.
The exchange offered a rare glimpse into how Mr. Xi, whose public appearances have been orchestrated, interacts with other leaders.
Trudeau said Wednesday that not every conversation will be “easy,” according to a statement he gave to the media after the exchange.
“But it’s very important that we continue to support the things that matter to Canadians. It’s what we’ve been doing and we’re going to continue to do that,” Trudeau said.
Their exchange comes as Xi hopes to reassert China’s global influence at the summit in Bali after an absence of almost three years from the world stage.
China’s relationship with U.S. allies has diverged in recent years amid heightened geopolitical tensions, trade disputes and the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as Beijing’s growing partnership with Moscow – despite Russia’s war on Ukraine degree of deterioration.
Xi sought to restore ties at the summit and met with U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday. He also held formal talks with the leaders of Australia, France, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Senegal, Argentina, Indonesia and South Korea.
Canada was denied such a meeting, and the snub may have something to do with volatile relations between the two countries since the detention of senior Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Canada in 2018. Nine days later, two Canadians were detained in China. All three are due to be released in 2021.