Xi Publicly Rebukes Trudeau at G20 Summit

Chinese leader accused Canadian PM of inappropriately leaking details of conversation
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2022 9:25 AM CST

An exchange between Xi Jinping and Justin Trudeau at the G20 summit in Indonesia has caused a stir, with Canadian analysts saying the Chinese leader was being "threatening" and Chinese officials accusing Canadians of being "condescending." Xi approached Trudeau Wednesday and accused him of leaking details of their private meeting to the media, the BBC reports. "That is not appropriate," Xi said, through an interpreter. As Xi questioned the Canadian leader's sincerity, Trudeau interrupted to say, "In Canada, we believe in free and open and frank dialogue and that is what we will continue to have," per the AP. "We will continue to look to work constructively together, but there will be things we will disagree on." Xi said China must first "create the conditions."

Trudeau and Xi shook hands before parting ways. Canadian analyst Charles Burton, a former diplomat to China, says Xi was sending a message with the confrontation in front of the media. Burton says Xi's language seemed "dismissive and threatening." "He certainly wouldn't speak like that to the US president. So it does suggest that Mr. Xi has a degree of disdain for the prime minister and does not see Canada as an important partner," Burton tells the CBC. After Trudeau's Tuesday meeting with Xi, the prime minister's office disclosed the topics that had been discussed, including Trudeau's concerns about reports that China covertly funded candidates in Canada's 2019 election.

Mao Ning, a spokesperson for China's foreign ministry, said Thursday that the exchange had been "quite normal"—but she blamed Canada for deteriorating relations between Ottawa and Beijing and said Canada "should take concrete actions to create conditions for the improvement of China-Canada relations." "China has no problem at all with having a candid dialogue with other countries," she said, per the AP. "But we hope such a candid dialogue will be based on equal treatment and mutual respect, rather than criticizing the other in a condescending manner." (Read more China stories.)

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