Video shows Xi confronting Trudeau over leaks in G-20 conflict

Video shows Xi confronting Trudeau over leaks in G-20 conflict
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Asked about the video at a press conference in Bali on Wednesday, Trudeau confirmed that he had raised the issue of foreign interference with Xi.

“Not every conversation will always be easy, but it is extremely important that we continue to advocate for what matters to Canadians,” he said. “This is something we have always done and will continue to do.”

Trudeau avoided a question about whether the conflict was a “power play” by Xi.

Brian Lee Crowley, executive director of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, a think tank in Ottawa, appears to have expressed to NBC News that Xi “totally despised” Trudeau in the video.

“She is desperately trying to be taken seriously by this man who will not look at her,” said the Canadian prime minister. “[Xi] she keeps turning away from him, her body language is horrible.”

But Crowley said Trudeau likely appeals to a wider audience than Xi, as he faces pressure to take a tougher stance against China, as well as from the United States and other liberal democracies, as well as worried voters. “I certainly don’t think it was a huge success for Trudeau in terms of domestic public opinion, but I’m sure it was noticed in Washington,” he said.

Tensions between Canada and China have escalated recently amid accusations that Beijing interfered in the country’s 2019 elections. Last week, Trudeau said China and other state actors are playing “aggressive games” to undermine democratic institutions, while Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly described China as an “increasingly destructive global power”.

While Trudeau and Xi were at the G-20 summit, an employee of Hydro-Québec, Canada’s largest electricity producer, was arrested on suspicion of spying for China. Earlier this month, the Canadian government ordered three Chinese companies to divest critical mines in the country, citing national security concerns.

Canadian police are also investigating allegations that Chinese authorities set up secret “police stations” in the Toronto area as part of an operation against Chinese dissidents abroad. Beijing says foreign outposts are service centers that, among other things, help Chinese citizens living abroad renew their driver’s licenses.

One of the most damaging blows to Canada-China relations in recent years was the 2018 arrest of two Canadians in China. Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, after Canadian authorities arrested Chinese tech executive Meng Wanzhou at the request of US authorities seeking his extradition. Kovrig and Spavor were detained for more than 1,000 days on espionage charges before being released in September 2021, as Meng was allowed to return to China.

Although Xi held bilateral talks with the President at the G-20 summit, Joe BidenFrench President Emmanuel Macron and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese did not have such a meeting with Trudeau.

Jace Zhang contributed.

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