China’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday that Chinese President Xi Jinping did not criticize Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a day after Xi was seen confronting him at the G20 summit over alleged leaks of a meeting that they kept.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told a regular media briefing that Beijing supports having frank exchanges as long as they are conducted on equal terms, and said China hopes Canada will take steps to improve bilateral ties. .
“The video you mentioned is indeed a short conversation the two leaders had during the G20 summit. This is very normal. I don’t think it should be interpreted as President Xi criticizing or accusing anyone,” Mao said.
In the video released by Canadian networks on Wednesday, a translator for Xi is heard telling Trudeau that “everything we discussed was leaked to the newspapers, that’s not appropriate.”
Xi himself is heard saying, in Mandarin, “That’s not appropriate and we didn’t do it that way.”
Xi goes on to say that “if there is sincerity, we can communicate well with mutual respect, otherwise the result will not be easy to tell.”
Mao did not respond to a question from Reuters about the reason for this brief exchange on Wednesday and what Xi meant when he said “that’s not appropriate and we didn’t do it that way.”
Xi’s upset was possibly due to media reports, citing government sources, that Trudeau raised “serious concerns” about alleged Chinese espionage and “interference” in Canadian elections when he met with Xi. on Tuesday, Trudeau’s first talks with the Chinese leader in more than three years.
The talks were kept informal, according to a Canadian government source, which explains why neither side has published an official report.
“First of all, I want to stress that China never interferes in other countries’ affairs,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao said on Thursday.
She did not say whether news that Trudeau brought up alleged Chinese meddling on Tuesday was the reason for the recorded exchange between the two leaders the next day.
The video captured a rare moment of candor from Xi, whose image is carefully curated by Chinese state media.
Mao also said on Thursday that Xi’s telling Trudeau “otherwise the outcome will not be easy to tell” was not a threat as both leaders were engaging in a “normal” exchange and simply ” expressing their respective positions.