Top Huawei executive detained in Canada, angering China

Ann Santiago
December 7, 2018

The detention of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟) came after U.S. authorities reportedly launched an investigation into suspected Iran sanctions breaches by Huawei, which was already under scrutiny by USA intelligence officials who deemed the company a national security threat. China, which has spent the week thus far making conciliatory gestures to the an attempt to bring the trade war to an end, is furious and is demanding Meng's release.

"The Chinese side has lodged stern representations with the United States and Canadian side", the Embassy said, "and urged them to immediately correct the wrongdoing and restore the personal freedom of Ms. Meng Wanzhou".

Both Huawei and ZTE Corp. have faced trouble with the US and other governments over dealings with Iran and fears the Chinese companies' equipment might be used for spying.

David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said USA and Canadian business executives could face reprisals in China.

The prime minister declined to comment further on the case, citing a court-ordered publication ban sought by Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, arrested at the request of U.S. authorities as she was changing planes in Vancouver.

"While there was a brief moment of optimism after the weekend U.S".

BT, Britain's largest mobile provider, said this week it was removing the equipment of Huawei from its 4G cellular network. "We think its low level is mainly a product of worries about the outlook for growth in the U.S". "After all, according to reports, none of the commitments that USA officials said had been given by China were agreed to in writing".

The board member, who is also the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was picked up by authorities in the country last Friday, where she is wanted in connection with possible breaches of sanctions against Iran, according to reports from the United States, which plans to extradite her.

China's embassy in Canada said it resolutely opposed the arrest and called for Meng's immediate release. Under U.S. President Donald Trump and his predecessor, Barack Obama, Washington has pressured European countries and other allies to limit the use of its technology.

MSCI's benchmark for global stocks declined 0.61 percent, and USA markets were on track to open lower by 1 percent or more.

"Without any solid evidence, the Canadian and U.S. governments trampled on worldwide law by basically "kidnapping" Chinese citizen Meng", an official with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a Global Times op-ed.

Huawei said in a statement Wednesday it has not been provided many details about Meng's arrest.

New Zealand turned down Huawei equipment from being used in its rollout of 5G network over national security concerns, after Australia imposed a similar ban on both Huawei and fellow communications firm ZTE. After news of the arrest, Huawei said it has been provided little information of the charges against Meng, adding that it was "not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng".

Earlier this year, the United States banned American firms from selling parts and software to ZTE, which then paid $1 billion this summer as part of a deal to get the ban lifted.

"That's something we should be watching out for".

Canada's cyber security chief, however, said Ottawa was prepared for any possible retaliatory cyber attacks over the arrest. "It's a possibility. China plays rough", Mulroney told The Associated Press.

Meng's arrest is related to alleged violations of United States sanctions, according to Reuters news agency.

Meanwhile, Ms Meng's arrest comes at a sensitive time for US-China relations.

An editorial in the pro-government Global Times accused the US of "maliciously finding fault" with Huawei. He also said the Iran allegations are very damaging to Huawei and said China will push back hard.

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