Huawei arrest: Justin Trudeau denies political motivation

Irving Hamilton
December 7, 2018

The chances of trade peace between the USA and China took a blow Thursday as it emerged Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou had been held in Canada and faces extradition to the United States over alleged Iran sanctions breaches by the firm. The White House said on Thursday that U.S. President Donald Trump did not know about the extradition request before his dinner with Chinese President Xi Jingping in Argentina at the recent G20 summit.

It said it could not say more as Ms Meng had sought a ban on the publication of details and this had been ordered by the courts.

In a statement issued exclusively to the News from Huawei's corporate head office, the company explained how Meng was "provisionally detained by the Canadian authorities on behalf of the United States of America, which seeks the extradition of..." Just $5 a month. China, which has spent the week thus far making conciliatory gestures to the U.S.in an attempt to bring the trade war to an end, is furious and is demanding Meng's release.

According to The Wall Street Journal, since 2016, USA prosecutors have been examining whether Huawei violated United States trade sanctions with Iran.

"There is ample evidence to suggest that no major Chinese company is independent of the Chinese government and Communist Party - and Huawei, which China's government and military tout as a "national champion" is no exception", senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio wrote in October to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Canada's cyber security chief, however, said Ottawa was prepared for any possible retaliatory cyber attacks over the arrest.

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

Representatives of Huawei, one of the world's largest makers of telecommunications network equipment, told The New York Times: 'The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng'. "The company believes the Canadian and USA legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion", the statement continued.

Huawei has said it complies with all applicable export control and sanctions laws and other regulations.

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It's noteworthy that Huawei adopted a highly cautious and moderate tone in the statement.

The probe of Huawei is similar to one that threatened the survival of China's ZTE Corp, which pleaded guilty in 2017 to violating USA laws that restrict the sale of American-made technology to Iran. "The Chinese side firmly opposes and strongly protests over such kind of actions which seriously harmed the human rights of the victim", the Middle Kingdom's officials said in a statement via their Canadian embassy.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily briefing on Thursday that China had asked Canada and the United States for an explanation of Meng's arrest, but they have "not provided any clarification". In this meeting, both top leaders agreed on a trade ceasefire.

Houlden said he thinks the U.S.is more likely to be a target. "Don't act like a despicable rogue".

Still, Huawei's status as a kingpin of China's high-tech industry, at a time when the country is racing to catch up with the U.S.in hard areas such as chip development, means it will nearly certainly remain a powerful force for years to come.

FILE - People walk past a sign board of Huawei at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Asia 2018 in Shanghai, China, June 14, 2018.

The SCMP obtained a transcript of an internal question-and-answer between Meng and her father, Huawei's founder Ren Zhengfei. "The appropriate authorities took the decisions in this case".

Ren responded: "We must not bind ourselves up just because the U.S.is attacking us. If our hands and feet are bound, then we will not be able to continue producing, then what's the point of compliance?"

The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday declined to comment.

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