Communist Party of China Chairman Xi Jinping struck a stern tone with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the G-20 world meeting in Indonesia on Wednesday, complaining of “inappropriate” leaks to the press.
The confrontation followed discussion by Canadian government sources of world leaders’ conversation on the sidelines of Tuesday’s G-20, where Trudeau reportedly expressed “serious concerns” about Chinese attempts to influence the country.
“Everything we discussed has been leaked to the newspapers. It’s not appropriate,” Xi told Trudeau in an informal conversation at the G-20, according to video shot by a Canadian pool reporter. “And that’s not how the conversation was conducted.”
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The two leaders were speaking through a translator on the meeting room floor.
Trudeau rejected the criticism, telling the Chinese leader: “We believe in free, open and frank dialogue and that is what we will continue to have.”
The prime minister has been vocally critical of China’s international politics, accusing the communist nation of “playing aggressive games” to influence Canadian democracy.
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“We will continue to try to work constructively together, but there will be things we disagree on,” Trudeau added in his brief interaction with Xi on Wednesday.
“Great, but create the conditions first,” Xi replied through his translator before shaking Trudeau’s hand and leaving the conversation.
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President Biden met Xi on Monday for the first time in person since Biden took office on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Indonesia. Biden has expressed concern about “coercive and increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan,” among other areas of tension, the White House says.
Xi’s visit to Indonesia is his first trip abroad in three years. In a reading from the meeting, the White House he said Biden expressed “concern about the PRC’s practices in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong, and about human rights more broadly.”
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“On Taiwan, he detailed that our only China policy has not changed, the United States opposes any unilateral change to the status quo by both sides, and the world has an interest in maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait ,” the White House said. “It raised US objections to PRC coercion and growing aggressiveness actions towards Taiwanwhich undermine peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the wider region and jeopardize global prosperity”.