A Canadian broadcaster captured Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Wednesday in a rare moment when his Canadian counterpart, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, was filmed monitoring the “leaked” discussion.
Xi spoke with Trudeau in Mandarin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia. But the English translation of what he conveyed was rather unfriendly.
“Everything we discussed was handed over to the papers, and that’s inappropriate,” Xi’s spokesman said.
Trudeau nodded, and Xi spoke again. “That’s not a conversation,” said the translator.
Xi told the Canadian leader in Mandarin: “If you are sincere, we will adopt the idea of mutual respect if there are no unforeseen consequences.”
Xi’s translator tried translating what he said before Trudeau cut him off, “If it’s sincere.”
“In Canada, we believe in free, open, and transparent dialogue,” Trudeau said.
“Let’s create the situation first,” a translator said on behalf of Xi in the video. The Chinese leader then shook Trudeau’s hand and left with his pride.
The G20 leaders’ declaration condemned Russia’s war “in the strongest terms.”
The exchange, choreographed in public, provided a rare glimpse into how Xi interacted with other leaders.
Not every negotiation will be “easy,” he said in a statement to the media after Wednesday’s exchange.
“But it is essential that we continue to protect what is important to Canadians. ” We have always done and will continue doing this,” he said.
When asked about the incident, China’s Foreign Ministry said Canada should “create conditions through concrete actions” to improve relations with Beijing.
“China has no problem with open dialogue, but we want it to be about equality and mutual respect, rather than excessive finger-pointing,” ministry spokesman Mao Ning said Thursday. As for the recent difficulties in China-Canada bilateral relations, it is clear that the blame does not lie with China. “
The exchange between the two leaders comes as China seeks to reassert China’s global influence after nearly three years on the world stage at a summit in Bali.
China’s relationship with its American ally has deteriorated in recent years due to geopolitical tensions, trade disputes, and the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as Beijing’s growing cooperation with Moscow and Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Xi met US President Joe Biden on Monday and tried to mend ties at the summit. He also held official talks with the leaders of Australia, France, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Senegal, Argentina, Indonesia, and South Korea.
Canada does not allow such meetings, and the issue may be related to strained relations between the countries since Huawei’s top executive, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada in 2018. Two Canadians were arrested nine days later in China. All three were released in 2021.