Watch: Tense moment Xi Jinping tears strips off Justin Trudeau 'for leaking conversation' at G20

16 November 2022, 22:42

Justin Trudeau was sharply criticised by Xi Jinping in an awkward G20 encounter
Justin Trudeau was sharply criticised by Xi Jinping in an awkward G20 encounter. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Cameras have captured the moment Xi Jinping scolds Canada's Justin Trudeau as he claims their conversation was leaked to the media at the G20 summit in Bali.

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Mr Trudeau is torn into by China's president, whose translator interprets his bosses's criticism.

The extraordinary frank exchange of views leaves Mr Trudeau explaining he wants to keep up the dialogue before leaving the room after an unfriendly handshake.

Mr Xi is seen remonstrating with the Canadian prime minister as his translator says: "Everything we discussed has been leaked to the papers, that's not appropriate.

"And that's not the way the conversation was conducted.

"If there is sincerity on your part…"

Mr Trudeau cuts in to say: "In Canada, we believe in free and open and frank dialogue and that we will continue to have.

"We will continue to look to work constructively together but there will be things we disagree on and…"

Mr Xi then cuts off Mr Trudeau, translated as saying: "That's great – the conditions first."

He then smiles and stretches out his arm for a handshake.

Read more: 'Get out of Ukraine now and end this barbaric war:' Rishi Sunak confronts Russian foreign minister Lavrov at G20

Mr Trudeau takes his hand briefly and then awkwardly walks out as Mr Xi smiles and turns to leave.

The meeting referenced by Mr Xi took place on Tuesday between the two leaders - whose countries have had tensions over recent years - and included Mr Trudeau bringing up interference with Canadian citizens.

Asked about the tense encounter with Mr Xi, Mr Trudeau said not every conversation would be easy.

"But it's extremely important that we continue to stand up for the things that are important for Canadians," he added.

Xi Jinping laid into Justin Trudeau
Xi Jinping laid into Justin Trudeau. Picture: Alamy

The meeting is the first chance for an in-person discussion with Mr Xi for some time.

China's Covid controls have hampered efforts for face-to-face bilateral talks.

US president Joe Biden has already met with Mr Xi, amid simmering tensions between the two massive economies.

Taiwan, which sees itself as distinct from mainland China while Beijing views it as a renegade province, is chief among the concerns.

Read more: Dominic Raab says he’s ‘behaved professionally throughout’ as he faces investigation over bullying complaints

But the two did issue a statement effectively warning Russian leader Vladimir Putin – who did not attend the G20, sending his foreign minister Sergei Lavrov instead – not to use nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak had strong words for Beijing.

"I think that China unequivocally poses a systemic threat — well, a systemic challenge — to our values, and our interests and is undoubtedly the biggest state-based threat to our economic security, let me put it that way," he said during the Indonesia summit.

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