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‘Everything we discuss has been leaked to the paper, that’s not appropriate,’ Chinese president Xi confronts Trudeau

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Bali, November 16: On the sidelines of a G20 meeting, Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his displeasure with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that details of the pair’s brief meeting Tuesday were “leaked” to the press.

The rarely-captured interaction happened during the closing session of the G20 in Bali, Indonesia. The video, recorded by a TV pool camera travelling as part of a media delegation following the prime minister, shows Xi telling Trudeau that it is not appropriate for details about Tuesday’s talk to have been shared with the press.

“Everything we discuss has been leaked to the paper, that’s not appropriate,” Xi says to Trudeau.

And that’s not the way the conversation was conducted,” he added.

How China responded to Trudeau and what China talked about during Tuesday’s meeting is unclear.

Trudeau, who interrupts Xi, responds by highlighting the importance of “free and open” dialogue in Canada and the freedom of the press.

“In Canada, We believe in free and open and frank dialogue and that is what we will continue to have,” Trudeau says. “We will continue to look to work constructively together but there will be things we will disagree on.”

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly, who also spoke to her Chinese counterpart Tuesday, described the interactions as “respectful.”

“It was a good conversation and it is important indeed to keep channels open,” said Joly, “I said to my counterpart (that) it was on China’s shoulders to show that it was respecting international norms.”

Trudeau and Xi ended their conversation by shaking hands and leaving in opposite directions.

Asked about the exchange by reporters afterwards, and whether he had offered Xi any assurances that the content of their conversation wouldn’t be shared, the prime minister spoke about the importance of keeping Canadians “apprised of what it is we’re doing and the conversations we’re having here.”

“Not every conversation is always going to be easy, but it’s extremely important that we continue to stand up for the things that are important for Canadians,” Trudeau said.

“Canada trusts its citizens with information about the conversations that we have in their name, as a government. I think it’s important that Canadians in a democracy, that citizens in a democracy, be apprised of the work that leaders are doing on their behalf. And I won’t shy away from being open with Canadians, even as we discuss important and sometimes delicate subjects.”

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