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Canada's Trudeau insists arrest of Huawei CFO not 'political'

07 December, 2018, 09:46 | Author: Kristi Dunn
  • The reason for Wanzhou Meng's arrest was not immediately clear.					WANG ZHAO  AFP  Getty Images

"The arrest of Huawei's CFO by the Canadian government for potential violations of Iran sanctions is welcome", he said.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, is facing extradition charges to the United States over accusations that she violated Iran sanctions.

"The appropriate authorities took the decisions in this case without any political involvement or interference".

A month later, Washington and Beijing reached a deal that would strike ZTE from the sanctions list - just days after China reportedly offered to ramp up purchases of USA goods to reduce the trade imbalance with the US.

The Chinese embassy in Canada has also released a strongly worded statement.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters Thursday that the Chinese government also wants Canadian officials to reveal the reasoning behind Meng Wanzhou's arrest Saturday.

Meanwhile, news of the arrest has sparked fears on Wall Street that the trade war between the USA and China could escalate.

Canadian authorities said they have arrested Huawei's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou.

Huawei said in a statement that it had been given little information "about the charges" against Meng.

Companies are barred from using the USA financial system to funnel goods and services to sanctioned entities.

"Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export control and sanction laws, and regulations of the UN, US and European Union", the company said in a statement.

A spokesman for the U.S. justice department in the Eastern District of NY - which Huawei said had brought the charges - declined to comment.

A person who knew about the incident told Reuters the arrest is linked to reported violations of American restrictions on Iran by Huawei.

Hawkish US trade official Lighthizer tapped to lead China trade talks
Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi told reporters, "The two presidents agreed that the two sides can and must get bilateral relations right".

Huawei, China's largest maker of smartphones and telecommunications equipment, has been swept up in concerns that products made by Chinese technology companies are avenues for surveillance by the country's intelligence agencies.

China, Russia and Saudi Arabia are among the countries with no USA extradition treaties.

Huawei was a pioneering supplier of telecom gear at a time when China was spending heavily to upgrade its networks, importing much of its equipment. President Trump has agreed to postpone planned tariff hikes on Chinese goods, while China has pledged to purchase a "very substantial" amount of American produce and curb the export of deadly opioid Fentanyl to the U.S. in exchange.

The Shanghai Composite index in China dropped 1.7% as the country's government demanded her immediate release. Later, other sources claimed that the arrest had been made to investigate whether Huawei violated United States sanctions on Iran or not.

But it's what happened a month after Su's initial arrest that now has some spooked: Canadians Julia and Kevin Garratt, who lived three decades in China operating a coffee shop and doing Christian aid work, were arrested and accused of spying and stealing military secrets.

"This is something that we get from the Justice Department", he said.

Why is Huawei a concern to the West?

"It has been clear for some time that Huawei, like ZTE, poses a threat to our national security", he said.

"Public opinion in China will likely become more negative in respect to the trade war, and potentially against U.S. companies", Deutsche Bank analyst Zhiwei Zhang said on Thursday.

"China has the means, opportunity, and motive to use telecommunications companies for malicious purposes", a government report said.

The US request for Ms Meng's extradition stems from a Trump administration campaign to increasingly hold Chinese nationals accountable for committing crimes, said a second person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified speaking about the sensitive issue.

Australia and New Zealand have effectively banned Huawei gear from the latest generation of their mobile networks while others such as the United Kingdom and Germany may follow suit due to worries it could be outfitted to spy on their host nations. The US later replaced the ban with a fine and governance changes.

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