Fri | Jul 19, 2019

China summons US envoy to protest detention of Huawei exec

Published:Monday | December 10, 2018 | 12:00 AM
In this courtroom sketch, Meng Wanzhou (right), the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, sits beside a translator during a bail hearing at the British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver last Friday. Meng faces extradition to the US on charges of trying to evade US sanctions on Iran. She appeared in a Vancouver court Friday to seek bail.

BEIJING (AP):

China summoned the US ambassador to Beijing on Sunday to protest the detention of an executive of Chinese electronics giant Huawei in Canada at Washington's behest and demanded Washington cancel an order for her arrest.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Vice-Foreign Minister Le Yucheng "lodged solemn representations and strong protests" with Ambassador Terry Branstad against the detention of Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou. Meng, who is reportedly suspected of trying to evade US trade curbs on Iran, was detained on December 1 while changing planes in Vancouver, Canada.

The Xinhua report quoted Le as calling Meng's detention "extremely egregious" and demanded the US vacate an order for her arrest. It quoted Le as calling for the US to "immediately correct its wrong actions" and said it would take further steps based on Washington's response.

The move followed the summoning of Canadian Ambassador John McCallum on Saturday over Meng's detention and a similar protest warning of "grave consequences" if she is not released.

The Canadian province of British Columbia said in a statement Sunday that it cancelled a trade mission to China because of Meng's detention. The announcement came amid fears China could detail Canadians in retaliation.

Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and Internet companies and has been the target of deepening US security concerns over its ties to the Chinese government. The US has pressured European countries and other allies to limit use of its technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft of information.

Meng's arrest has threatened to increase US-China trade tensions and shook stock markets globally last week. But US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, speaking on CBS's Face the Nation, downplayed the impact of the arrest on trade talks between the two countries aimed at defusing the tensions.

 

'NOT MUCH IMPACT'

 

"It's my view that it shouldn't really have much of an impact," he said.

Roland Paris, a former foreign policy adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said that Chinese pressure on Canada's government won't work.

"Perhaps because the Chinese state controls its judicial system, Beijing sometimes has difficulty understanding or believing that courts can be independent in a rule-of-law country. There's no point in pressuring the Canadian government. Judges will decide," Paris tweeted in response to the comments from Beijing.

A Canadian prosecutor urged a Vancouver court to deny bail to Meng, whose case is shaking up US-China relations and spooking global financial markets.

Meng, also the daughter of Huawei's founder, was detained at the request of the US during a layover at the Vancouver airport on the same day that President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, agreed over dinner to a 90-day cease-fire in a trade dispute that threatens to disrupt global commerce.

The US alleges that Huawei used a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment in Iran in violation of US sanctions. It also says that Meng and Huawei misled American banks about its business dealings in Iran.

The surprise arrest raises doubts about whether the trade truce will hold and whether the world's two biggest economies can resolve the complicated issues that divide them.