Not ‘accusing’ Canada, says China, a day after Xi Jinping rebuked Trudeau
Canadian broadcasters published video footage, which showed the two leaders talking to each other on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali in Indonesia
Beijing: President Xi Jinping did not “accuse” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a short interaction in Bali on the sidelines of the G20 summit, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Thursday, a day after the Chinese leader was seen and heard confronting Trudeau over apparent information leaks from a bilateral meet.
An expert has described the incident of Xi rebuking Trudeau in public, in what was their first talks in over three years, as “highly offensive” and showing disdain for a foreign leader.
Canadian broadcasters published video footage on Wednesday, which showed the two leaders talking to each other on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali in Indonesia.
A translator for Xi can be heard in the video telling Trudeau that “everything we discussed was leaked to the paper(s), that’s not appropriate”.
“If there is sincerity, we can communicate well with mutual respect, otherwise the outcome will not be easy to tell,” Xi went on to tell Trudeau.
According to footage captured by Canada’s CTV news, Trudeau then said: “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, and we will have to...”
Interrupting Trudeau, Xi said “Let’s create the conditions first”.
Xi’s displeasure was said to be in context of media reports, which said Trudeau brought up “serious concerns” about alleged espionage and Chinese “interference” in Canadian elections during their meeting.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning attempted to play it down at a briefing on Thursday.
“Firstly, I want to stress that China never interferes in the affairs of other countries,” Mao said.
“The video you mentioned was indeed a short conversation both leaders held during the G20 summit. This is very normal. I don’t think it should be interpreted as Chairman Xi criticising or accusing anyone,” she added.
Mao, according to the Associated Press, added that there had been a clear lack of respect from the Canadian side.
“China has no problem at all with having a candid dialogue with other countries,” she said, adding: “But we hope such a candid dialogue will be based on equal treatment and mutual respect, rather than criticising the other in a condescending manner.”
Speaking to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), former Canadian diplomat to China, Charles Burton, said he found Xi’s language to be “quite dismissive and threatening”, indicating China’s lack of respect for Canada.
“I just think in general, it was very unpleasant. I found it highly offensive on the part of his intent,” Burton said.