Trudeau, China’s Xi had ‘positive’ discussions as dispute rages

A rapeseed field in southern China’s Yunnan province. (YuenWu/iStock/Getty Images)

Ottawa | Reuters — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese President Xi Jinping had “positive, constructive interactions” on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Friday as a dispute between the two countries rages, Trudeau’s office said.

Trudeau spoke “more than once” to Xi during a meeting of the Group of 20 leading economies in Osaka, Japan, said an official in Trudeau’s office, who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.

The contact between the two leaders was the first since diplomatic and trade relations turned icy last December after Canadian police arrested Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. warrant.

Video footage from the meeting showed Trudeau and Xi speaking briefly through interpreters before shaking hands.

“There will likely be more opportunities ahead to have a conversation if needed,” said the official, who did not give any more details.

China detained two Canadians after Meng’s arrest and has charged them with spying. U.S. President Donald Trump, who is due to meet Xi on Saturday, said last week he would ask for the Canadians’ release if Trudeau wanted him to do so.

Earlier this week, China blocked all imports of Canadian meat after fraudulent documents were discovered. Chinese importers have also stopped buying Canadian canola.

— Reporting for Reuters by Kelsey Johnson and David Ljunggren in Ottawa.

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