China calls on Canada to free Huawei CFO or face consequences

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China calls on Canada to free Huawei CFO or face consequences
China calls on Canada to free Huawei CFO or face consequences

BEIJING/OTTAWA: China warned Canada on Saturday that there would be severe consequences if it didn’t fastly release Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s [HWT.UL] chief financial officer, calling the case “extremely nasty.”

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s global chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada on December. 1 and faces extradition to the United States, which alleges that she covered up her company’s links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions.

The executive is the daughter of  founder of Huawei.

If extradited to United States, Meng would face charges of conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions, a Canadian court heard on Friday, with a maximum sentence of 30 years for the each charge.

No decision was reached at the extradition hearing after nearly six hours of arguments and counter-arguments, and hearing was adjourned until Monday.

In a short statement, China’s Foreign Ministry said that Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng had issued warning to release Meng to Canada’s ambassador in Beijing, summoning him to lodge a “strong protest.”

Adam Austen a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, said Saturday there is “nothing to add far off what  Minister said yesterday”.

Freeland told reporters on Friday that relationship with China is important and valued, and Canada’s ambassador in Beijing has assured Chinese that consular access will be provided to Meng.

When asked about  possible Chinese backlash after  arrest of Huawei’s CFO, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Friday that Canada has a very good relationship with Beijing.

Canada’s arrest of Meng at the request of  United States while she was changing plane in Vancouver was a serious breach of her lawful rights, Le said.

The move “ignored  law, was unreasonable” and was in its  nature “extremely nasty,” he added.

“China strongly urges the Canadian side to fastly release the detained person, and earnestly protect their lawful, legitimate rights, otherwise Canada must accept full responsibility for the serious consequences caused.”

The statement did not elaborate.

“There will perhaps be a deep freeze with the Chinese in high-level visits and exchanges,” David Mulroney, former Canadian ambassador to China, said on Friday.

“The ability to talk about free trade will be put in ice box for a while. But we’re going to have to live with that. That’s the price of dealing with a country like China.”

Meng’s arrest was on same day that US President Donald Trump met in Argentina with China’s Xi Jinping to look for ways to resolve an escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

The news of her arrest has roiled stock markets and drawn condemnation from Chinese authorities, although Trump and his top economic advisers have played down its importance to trade talks after  two leaders agreed to a truce.

A Huawei spokesman said on Friday  company has “every confidence that the Canadian and US legal systems will reach the right final.” The company has said it complies with all applicable export control and sanctions laws and another regulations.

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