Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

A tense exchange between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at this week’s G20 summit was fueled by leaked details of talks between the two, China’s foreign ministry said on Friday.

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Chinese President Xi clashes with Trudeau over sharing details of G20 talks

Video broadcast by Canadian television media on Wednesday showed Xi telling Trudeau, through a translator, that “everything we talked about was leaked to the newspapers, that’s not appropriate.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning, responding to a question on Friday, said Trudeau went up to Xi during the G20 welcoming ceremony on Tuesday and the two spoke briefly.

“Soon after, Reuters, citing a Canadian government official, said Trudeau had expressed serious concerns about China’s so-called meddling actions,” Mao told a regular media briefing, referring to a report that day of a conversation between the two. .

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Click to play video: 'Trudeau on tense moment with Chinese President Xi at G20:

Trudeau on the tense moment with Chinese President Xi at the G20: “Not every conversation will be easy”

“The Chinese side has already lodged a strong protest with the Canadian side over this, stressing that arbitrarily leaking the talks between the leaders to the outside world is not in line with the common sense of high-level exchanges,” Mao added.

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

Trudeau responded to Xi’s criticism of the leaks at the time 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 work together constructively, but there will be things we disagree on.”

Click to play video: 'G20 summit: Trudeau, Xi meet amid Russia-Ukraine war dominating agenda'

G20 summit: Trudeau and Xi meet amid Russia-Ukraine war dominating agenda

While the incident was widely reported by foreign media, there was no coverage of it in China, and the foreign ministry did not mention it in its released transcript of Thursday’s briefing, which asked four questions related to the incident.

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The exchange between the leaders highlighted bilateral tensions that have been rising since the detention of a senior executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies, Meng Wanzhou, in 2018 and Beijing’s subsequent arrest of two Canadians on espionage charges.

All three were later released.

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Xi did not criticize Trudeau during G20 confrontation, China says

Relations became strained again this month after Trudeau accused the Chinese government of “aggressive” meddling in Canadian elections.

A spokesman for Mao described the claim as “complete nonsense” on Friday.

The interaction comes after Global News reported that Canadian intelligence officials had warned Trudeau that China was allegedly targeting Canada with a massive campaign of foreign interference.

That campaign, officials added, allegedly involved financing a secret network of at least 11 federal candidates running in the 2019 election.

— Report by Eduardo Baptista; Editing by Robert Birsel. With files from Global News.

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