Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

China’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday that Chinese President Xi Jinping is not criticizing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a day after Xi was seen confronting him at the G20 summit over alleged leaks from a meeting they held.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning told a regular media briefing that Beijing supports sincere exchanges as long as they are held on an equal basis, and said China hopes Canada will take steps to improve bilateral ties.

“The video you mentioned was indeed a short conversation between the two leaders during the G20 summit. It’s very normal. I don’t think it should be interpreted as President Xi criticizing or accusing anyone,” Mao said.

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

In a video released by Canadian media on Wednesday, a translator for Xi can be heard telling Trudeau that “everything we talked about was leaked to the newspaper, that’s not appropriate.”

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Xi himself can be heard saying, in Mandarin, “that’s not appropriate, and we didn’t do it that way.”

Xi then goes on to say “if there is sincerity, we can communicate well with mutual respect, otherwise it will not be easy to tell the outcome.”

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”

Mao did not respond to a Reuters question about why the brief exchange was organized on Wednesday and what Xi meant when he said “it’s not appropriate, and we didn’t do it that way.”

Xi’s displeasure was likely sparked by media reports, citing government sources, that Trudeau raised “serious concerns” about alleged espionage and Chinese “interference” in Canadian elections during a meeting with Xi on Tuesday, Trudeau’s first talks with a Chinese leader in more from three years.

The talks were informal, according to a Canadian government source, explaining why neither side released an official reading.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with Chinese President Xi Jinping after attending the closing session of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Bali, Indonesia, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick.


“First, I want to emphasize that China never interferes in the affairs of other countries,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao said Thursday.

She did not say whether news of Trudeau bringing up alleged Chinese interference on Tuesday was behind the on-the-record exchange between the two leaders the next day.

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

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Alleged Chinese meddling ‘unacceptable’, says Joly as Trudeau meets Xi at G20

Mao also said Thursday that Xi telling Trudeau, “otherwise it will not be easy to tell the outcome,” was not a threat, as the two leaders were engaging in a “normal” exchange and were only “expressing their views.”