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China goads Canada to free Huawei CFO or face consequences

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On Saturday, China warned Canada that there would be severe consequences if it did not immediately release Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s chief financial officer, calling the case ‘extremely nasty’.

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On Dec 1, Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s global chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada 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.

Meng Wanzhou is the daughter of the founder of Huawei Technologies.

If extradited to the United States is successful, then 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 each charge.

After nearly six hours of hearing arguments and counter-arguments, No decision was reached. Thus, the hearing was adjourned until Monday.

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

On Saturday Adam Austen- a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, said that there is “nothing to add beyond what the Minister said yesterday”.

Meanwhile, 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 the possible Chinese backlash after the 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 the United States while she was changing plane in Vancouver was a serious breach of her lawful rights, Le said.

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

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

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

He further added, “The ability to talk about free trade will be put in the 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 the 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.

A US State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity said, “We are tracking the developments of this case and refer you to the filings in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.”

Apparently, the news of Meng’s arrest has roiled stock markets and drawn condemnation from Chinese authorities, even though Trump and his top economic advisers have played down its importance to trade talks after the two leaders agreed to a truce.

On Friday, a Huawei spokesman said, “the company has ‘every confidence that the Canadian and US legal systems will reach the right conclusion.” However, the company has asserted it complies with all applicable export control and sanctions laws and other regulations.

Also read: Donald Trump: Chief of staff John Kelly to step down by end of 2018

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