The Trump administration is not going to reach a detente with China anytime soon after Huawei’s CFO was arrested suddenly last week:
China summoned the Canadian ambassador to protest the detention of a top executive of leading Chinese tech giant Huawei, calling it “unreasonable, unconscionable, and vile in nature” and warning of “grave consequences” if she is not released. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou is being held in Vancouver and faces extradition to the U.S., where she could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
A report by the official Xinhua News Agency carried on the Foreign Ministry’s website said that Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng called in Ambassador John McCallum on Saturday over the Meng’s holding, who is reportedly suspected of trying to evade U.S. trade curbs on Iran.
Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies and has been the target of deepening U.S. security concerns over its ties to the Chinese government. The U.S. 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.
Le told McCallum that Meng’s detention at the request of the United States while transferring flights in Vancouver was a “severe violation” of her “legitimate rights and interests.”
The U.S. alleges that Huawei used a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment in Iran in violation of U.S. 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.