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G20 Summit: Xi Rebukes Trudeau Over 'Leaks' To Media

    G20 Summit: Xi Rebukes Trudeau Over 'Leaks' To Media
    Last updated: 2 weeks ago
    Image credit: Reuters [via Financial Times]

    Facts

    • On the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping appeared to confront Canadian PM Justin Trudeau during a camera-recorded encounter released on Wednesday about alleged indiscretions following a meeting the day before. [1]
    • In the short clip, Xi, speaking through an interpreter, accused Trudeau of having "leaked" details of an earlier conversation to the media. "That's not appropriate," the Chinese leader says to Trudeau, adding, "that's not the way the conversation was conducted." [2]
    • The Canadian PM replied by saying Canadians believe in "free and open dialogue" and that Ottawa would seek "to work constructively together," even if disagreements remain on certain issues. Xi then ends the brief conversation by stating, “let’s create the conditions first.” [3]
    • Canadian news, citing a government source, said Trudeau expressed "serious concerns" about suspected Chinese attempts to interfere in its internal affairs during Tuesday's meeting. On Nov. 7, it was reported that Canadian intelligence officials suspected Beijing of interfering in Canada's 2019 election. [4]
    • Meanwhile, the Chinese Foreign Ministry stated Thursday that the "quite normal" conversation shouldn't be misinterpreted. According to the statement, China never interfered in other countries' internal affairs, and it was up to Canada to improve bilateral relations. [5]
    • Last week, Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly warned companies against deepening their ties with China due to alleged "geopolitical risks." In 2018, Canada detained the CFO of Chinese tech giant Huawei, prompting Beijing to arrest two Canadians on spying charges. All three were released last year. [6]
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    Spin

    Anti-China narrative

    Xi's undiplomatic behavior and his accusation that Trudeau "leaked" the joint conversation to the media lack any basis since the alleged "leak" was a standard readout from the PM's office. Moreover, why should Trudeau feel obligated to maintain secrecy when China is likely interfering in Canada's elections? If Trudeau can be accused of anything, it's of being too soft on Beijing.

    Pro-China narrative

    Given the West's characteristic disrespect displayed by Trudeau's indiscretion, Xi's anger is not surprising. Add to this the fact that China is being accused by Canada — a junior partner of the US — of interfering in the 2019 elections without presenting evidence. Beijing would like to see fruitful dialogue and good bilateral relations with Canada, but these must be based on mutual respect.

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