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Xi Jinping criticizes Canadian PM Trudeau at G20, video goes viral

BEIJING, Nov 16 – Chinese President Xi Jinping personally criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday over alleged leaks from their closed-door talks at the G20 summit, a rare public display of anger from the Chinese leader.

Video footage released by Canadian broadcasters shows Xi and Trudeau standing close together and conversing through a translator at the summit on the Indonesian island of Bali.

“It’s not appropriate and we didn’t do it that way,” Xi said in Mandarin with a smile.

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“If there is honesty, we can communicate well with mutual respect, otherwise it will not be easy to tell the result.

His displeasure was likely a reference to media reports that Trudeau had raised “serious concerns” about alleged spying and Chinese “meddling” in Canadian elections in a meeting with Xi on Tuesday, his first talks with the Chinese leader in more than three years.

In the video, a translator for Xi is heard telling Trudeau that “everything we discussed was leaked to the newspapers, that’s not appropriate.”

The video captured a rare candid moment for Xi, whose image is carefully edited by Chinese state media.

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Trudeau responded to Xi’s initial criticism by saying, “In Canada, we believe in free, open and honest dialogue and that’s what we’re going to continue to have, we’re going to continue to try to work together constructively, but there will be things we disagree on.”

However, before he could finish speaking, Xi, looking slightly irritated, interrupted him and said, “Make conditions, make conditions, okay?” before smiling, shaking Trudeau’s hand and leaving.

Neither China’s foreign ministry nor state media have released anything about the talks between Xi and Trudeau. A 10-minute informal meeting was held on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Tuesday, according to a government source. Xi held nine formal bilateral meetings with other heads of state during the summit, the Chinese Foreign Ministry website said.

Canada never released official details of the meeting, but Trudeau confirmed the conversation and points made by Xi at a news conference at the end of the G20.

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“Canada trusts its citizens with information about the conversations we’re having on their behalf as a government,” Trudeau said, according to a transcript of the news conference.

Trudeau added that not all talks with the leaders will be easy, but pointed out that the “systems” in the two countries are different and in China “there is not always the same openness that a democratic leader can and must have with his citizens.”

The brief but revealing Xi-Trudeau exchange highlighted tensions between China and Canada, which have been high since the 2018 detention of Chinese Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou and the subsequent arrest of two Canadians in Beijing on espionage charges. All three were later released.

Despite the disclosure, tensions have recently resumed.

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An employee of Canada’s largest electricity producer Hydro-Quebec who was involved in research into battery materials has been charged with espionage for allegedly trying to steal trade secrets for China, Canadian police said Monday.

News of the arrests came as Trudeau and Xi attended the G20 summit.

This month, Canada ordered three Chinese companies to divest their investments in Canadian critical minerals, citing national security.

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