Video of the summit in Bali, Indonesia, shows Chinese President Xi Jinping and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau standing close to one another and speaking through a translator, according to Canadian media outlets. For Xi, whose image is meticulously cultivated by Chinese state media, the video captured a unique candid moment.
The footage shows a translator for Xi telling Trudeau that "everything we discussed was leaked to the paper(s), that's not appropriate". " Xi said in Mandarin while smiling, "That is not proper, and we didn't do it that way".
"If there is sincerity, we can communicate well with mutual respect, otherwise the outcome will not be easy to tell," he continued.
On Wednesday, Nov. 16, Xi confronted Trudeau over purported leaks of their private discussion at the G20 conference. It was a rare instance of the Chinese president expressing irritation in front of the public.
His disapproval was most likely in reaction to media reports that during his meeting with Xi on Tuesday, which was his first with the Chinese leader in more than three years, Trudeau raised "serious concerns" about alleged spying and Chinese "interference" in Canadian elections.
Regarding the discussions between Xi and Trudeau, neither the Chinese foreign ministry nor state media have released any information. According to a government source, the two had a casual meeting on Tuesday outside of the G20 summit. According to the website of the Chinese foreign ministry, Xi has held nine formal bilateral discussions with other heads of state while at the summit.
Trudeau confirmed the talk and the arguments he made to Xi at a news conference at the conclusion of the G20, but Canada never made an official report of the meeting public. "Canada trusts its citizens with information about the conversations that we have in their name as a government," Trudeau said.
The brief but insightful conversation between Xi and Trudeau brought to light the heightened tensions between China and Canada following Meng Wanzhou's arrest in 2018 and the subsequent imprisonment of two Canadians in Beijing on suspicion of espionage. Later, all three were freed.
In spite of the release, tensions have flared up again. An employee of Hydro-Quebec, the country's largest energy provider, who worked on battery material research has been charged with espionage for allegedly seeking to steal trade secrets for China, Canadian police said on Monday.
The G20 meeting was taking place on the Indonesian island of Bali when Trudeau and Xi received the news of the arrest. Invoking national security, Canada demanded earlier this month that three Chinese corporations sell their holdings in crucial Canadian resources.