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G20: Xi Jinping Accuses Trudeau of Spying on China-Canada Relations

Xi Jinping

China's President Xi Jinping waves after introducing the members of the Chinese Communist Party's new Politburo Standing Committee, the nation's top decision-making body, in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 23, 2022. (Photo by Noel Celis / AFP) (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Days after their conversation at the G20 conference in Bali, Justin Trudeau was seen on camera accusing him of disclosing information about their discussion.

Via a translator, President Xi informed the Canadian PM that this was unacceptable and charged him of lacking “sincerity.”

He was probably referring to rumors that Mr. Trudeau had brought up alleged Chinese spying and election meddling during the meeting.

The two had not spoken to each other in years when the talks took place behind closed doors.

President Xi and Mr. Trudeau can be seen standing close to one another in the video, which was taken by journalists at the now-completed summit of world leaders, and speaking through a translator.

The Chinese leader said to Mr. Trudeau in Mandarin, “Everything we discussed has been leaked to the papers and that is not appropriate.”

President Xi, whose image is typically meticulously managed by Chinese official media, is captured in a rare instance of spontaneity.

The Canadian prime minister said, “In Canada we believe in free, open, and candid discourse and that is what we will continue to have,” nodding his head and grinning.

There will be issues we differ on, but we’ll keep trying to work together constructively, he continued.

President Xi interrupted Mr. Trudeau before he could finish, requesting that he first “establish the conditions,” before shaking his hand and leaving.

The brief but illuminating exchange brought to light heightened tensions between China and Canada following Meng Wanzhou’s arrest in 2018 and Beijing’s subsequent imprisonment of two Canadians on suspicion of espionage. Later, all three were freed.

However, tensions recently returned as a result of Yuesheng Wang’s arrest, a Hydro-Quebec employee who was charged with espionage.

According to a statement from Canadian police, Mr. Wang “obtained trade secrets to benefit the People’s Republic of China, at the expense of Canada’s economic interests.”

At the time, Mr. Trudeau and President Xi were in Bali, Indonesia for the G20 summit.

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