Chinese President Xi Jinping
Canada Leads Joint Statement At UN On Human Rights In China’s Xinjiang Photo by Sergei Bobylyov/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping was caught in a candid moment with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chatting in a rather less friendly tone. On the sidelines of the recently concluded ASEAN G20 Summit held in Indonesia, the Chinese leader appeared not too happy with his statements while speaking with his Canadian counterpart as he referred to their discussions that were leaked to the media.

According to Reuters, the curt remark from the Chinese leader was spoken in Mandarin to Trudeau with the help of a translator. The English translation came out as a rebuke with Canadian officials highlighting this as an obviously icy relationship between the two leaders. Trudeau could be seen nodding his head as Xi spoke, and as the translator attempted to relay the message, Trudeau manages to cut him off, “If there was sincerity on your part then we shall conduct our discussion with an attitude of mutual respect, otherwise there might be unpredictable consequences,” Xi addressed the Canadian Prime Minister.

Midway through Xi’s statement, Trudeau cut him off to make light of things.

“In Canada, we believe in a free and open and frank dialogue,” Trudeau said.

He added that they will continue to work constructively together, although the Canadian leader said there will be things that they definitely disagree on.

“Let’s create the conditions first,” Xi replied before shaking Trudeau’s hand and then leaving alongside his entourage.

Their short but not-so-sweet exchange came a day after Trudeau raised serious concerns about China’s increasingly aggressive “interference”. The Canadian leader had been repeatedly giving warnings that China attempted to undermine Canada’s democracy as Canadian intelligence accused the nation of interfering with its 2019 federal election.

Reports that circulated earlier this month pointed fingers at Beijing for funding a clandestine network of candidates. Just this Monday, Canadian Mounted Police in Quebec slapped espionage charges on a researcher assigned at Quebec’s power company, accusing him of sending trade secrets to China. Speaking with the media after his short conversation with the Chinese President, Trudeau told reporters that conversations with China will not be an easy task. The Prime Minister continued that Canada needs to engage constructively while making its presence known to address challenges on values that matter to all Canadians.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Getty Images | Drew Angerer

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