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Monday, November 28, 2022

China’s Xi Scolds Trudeau Over a Conversation Made Public

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A brief scolding that the Chinese leader Xi Jinping gave to Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, at the end of a summit in Indonesia has offered a glimpse into Mr. Xi’s muscular style of personal diplomacy.

A short video caught by a news cameraman shows Mr. Xi smiling tightly as he spoke to Mr. Trudeau at a concluding reception for the Group of 20 meeting in Bali on Wednesday.

But the words that came out of Mr. Xi’s mouth were chilly.

Mr. Xi chided Mr. Trudeau, accusing him of leaking details of a brief conversation they had the previous day.

“Everything we discussed has been leaked to the paper. That’s not appropriate,” Mr. Xi says, speaking through a translator. Mr. Trudeau nods curtly. Mr. Xi shakes his head, telling Mr. Trudeau, “that’s not the way the conversation was conducted.”

Mr. Xi goes on to say that “sincerity” is needed for fruitful discussion. “Otherwise, the outcome will be hard to say,” he adds. But before his words can be fully translated, Mr. Trudeau responds.

“In Canada we believe in free and open and frank dialogue,” he says. Mr. Xi looks away, his wan smile has gone, as Mr. Trudeau adds: “We will continue to look to work constructively together, but there will be things we will disagree on.”

Mr. Xi has the final word before the two leaders move on: “Let’s create the conditions first.” After one brisk handshake, the men part ways.

While Mr. Xi has a reputation as a swaggering strongman, his image is carefully managed, and the 40-second conversation offered an unusual peek into how he interacts with other leaders — and can be attentive to perceived slights.

(New York Times)

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