China’s President Xi Jinping has been filmed accusing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of leaking meeting details, days after they held talks at the G20 summit here in Indonesia.
Xi told the Canadian leader via a translator, “it was inappropriate” and accused him of lacking “sincerity”.
He was likely referring to reports that Trudeau discussed alleged Chinese espionage and interference in Canadian elections at the sit down.
The talks, which happened behind closed doors, were the pair’s first in years, the BBC reported.
In the footage, filmed by the media at the just concluded summit of world leaders, Xi and Trudeau can be seen standing close to each other and conversing via a translator.
“Everything we discussed has been leaked to the papers and that is not appropriate,” the Chinese leader told Trudeau in Mandarin.
It was a rare candid moment of Xi, whose image is normally carefully curated by Chinese state media.
After smiling and nodding his head, Trudeau responded by saying “in Canada 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 disagree on,” he added.
Before Trudeau could finish, Xi cut his counterpart off and asked that he first “create the conditions” – eventually shaking Trudeau’s hand and walking away.
The short but impromptu exchange highlighted tensions between China and Canada. Things have been rough since the detention of Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou in 2018 and Beijing’s subsequent arrest of two Canadians on spying charges. All three were later released.
The tensions recently resurged following the arrest of Yuesheng Wang, a public utility worker at Hydro-Quebec, who was charged with espionage. Wang “obtained trade secrets to benefit the People’s Republic of China, to the detriment of Canada’s economic interests,” BBC quoted the Canadian police as saying.