China has defended the conversation between President Xi and the Canadian Prime Minister after Xi was accused of scolding Justin Trudeau.
The two men were seen having a conversation through an interpreter at the G20 summit in Indonesia, in which President Xi expressed his frustrations with Trudeau for allegedly leaking details of a meeting in which the Canadian prime minister raised concerns about China meddling in Canada’s affairs.
“Everything we discussed has been leaked to the paper; that’s not appropriate,” Xi said to Trudeau. “And that’s not… the way the conversation was conducted, if there is sincerity on your part.”
“In Canada, we believe in free and open and frank dialogue and that is what we will continue to have,” Trudeau said in response. “We will continue to look to work constructively together, but there will be things we will disagree on.”
“Let’s create the conditions first,” Xi added. The two men then shook hands.
Xi was heard saying “Very naive” in Mandarin as he walked away.
A Canadian official confirmed that Xi and Trudeau discussed Ukraine, North Korea and climate change and Trudeau took the opportunity to raise “serious concerns around interference activities in Canada.”
After the conversation drew some controversy, China’s foreign ministry responded by saying that Xi was not criticizing Trudeau.
Spokesperson Mao Ning said current relations between Beijing and Ottawa is Canada’s responsibility and that Beijing hopes that Canada will take the necessary actions to improve bilateral ties.
“The video you mentioned was indeed a short conversation both leaders held during the G20 summit,” Ning confirmed. “This is very normal. I don’t think it should be interpreted as Chairman Xi criticising or accusing anyone.”
Trudeau was asked about the conversation later at a press conference and he said, “not every conversation is always going to be easy, but it’s extremely important that we continue to stand up for the things that are important for Canadians.”
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