Canada on Saturday arrested Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s global chief financial officer, in Vancouver, where she is facing extradition to the U.S. on suspicion she violated U.S. sanctions against Iran
China’s foreign ministry has demanded Canada release a top executive at Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies who has been detained while in transit, and reveal the reasoning behind her arrest.
Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters Thursday that China was in contact with both Canada and the U.S over the case of Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the company’s founder.
The U.S requested her detention on suspicion of trying to evade American curbs on trade with Iran.
She was detained in Vancouver on Saturday, the day President Donald Trump met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Argentina.
Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer, faces possible extradition to the United States, according to Canadian authorities.
Geng also said Meng’s legal rights must be ensured. Neither Canada or the U.S. had so far responded to China’s concerns, he added.
The case adds to Beijing’s tensions with Washington and threatens to complicate trade talks taking place in the midst a cease-fire in a tariff war over China’s technology policy.
Meng, who is one of the vice chairs on the Chinese technology company’s board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei (above), was arrested on Dec. 1 and a court hearing has been set for Friday
Asian stock markets tumbled on the news, with the arrest is stoking fears that the world’s two biggest economies will not be able to reach a long-standing truce and promote global growth.
Markets across Europe also slumped and experts said investors were ‘knocked sideways’ by Meng’s arrest, and fear the Chinese will hit back by stepping up the tit for tat trade war with Washington.
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. Huawei overtook Apple this year to become the world’s second largest maker of smartphones after Samsung
Markets in America had already been falling since Tuesday on fears of a US economic slowdown – despite President Trump and President XI agreeing to call a truce in their long-running trade dispute at the G20.
The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said Meng broke no U.S. or Canadian laws and demanded Canada ‘immediately correct the mistake’ and release her.
‘The Canadian police, at the request of the United States, arrested a Chinese citizen who had not violated any U.S. or Canadian law,’ the embassy said in a short statement on its website.
‘China has already made solemn representations to the United States and Canada, demanding they immediately correct their wrong behavior and restore Ms Meng Wanzhou’s freedom.’
Meng, one of the vice chairs on the Chinese technology company’s board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested on Dec. 1 and a court hearing has been set for Friday, a Canadian Justice Department spokesman said, according to the Globe and Mail.
President Trump (far right) and President XI (far left) agreed to call a truce in their long-running trade dispute at the G20
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.’
U.S. authorities have been probing Huawei since at least 2016 for allegedly shipping U.S.-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of U.S. export and sanctions laws, sources told Reuters in April.
‘Wanzhou Meng was arrested in Vancouver on December 1, a Canadian government spokesperson told The Globe and Mail.
‘She is sought for extradition by the United States, and a bail hearing has been set for Friday.
‘As there is a publication ban in effect, we cannot provide any further detail at this time.
‘The ban was sought by Ms. Meng.’
Meanwhile Britain’s BT Group said it was removing Huawei’s equipment from the core of its existing 3G and 4G mobile operations and would not use the Chinese company in central parts of the next network.
Huawei, which sells telecommunications and computer electronics equipment, is the world’s second largest maker of smartphones, behind South Korean giant Samsung. Huawei global headquarters is seen above in Shenzhen, China
New Zealand and Australia have stopped telecom operators using Huawei’s equipment in new 5G networks because they are concerned about possible Chinese government involvement in their communications infrastructure.
Huawei, the world’s biggest network equipment maker ahead of Ericsson and Nokia, has said Beijing has no influence over its operations.
BT said Huawei’s equipment had not been used in the core of its fixed-line network, and it was removing it from the core of the mobile networks it acquired when it bought operator EE.
A U.S. judge last month issued an order finding that China’s ZTE Corp violated probation imposed in March 2017 when the company pleaded guilty for conspiring to evade U.S. sanctions by illegally shipping U.S. goods and technology to Iran.
Just yesterday President Trump tweeted about his meeting with President Xi and said he believed he meant every word
ZTE is China’s second-largest telecommunications equipment maker and relies on U.S. components for its smart phones and networking equipment.
The probation violation cited by the judge involves the same conduct the U.S. Department of Commerce penalized in April by imposing a ban on U.S. companies selling goods to ZTE.
Last month, the Trump administration launched an unusual lobbying campaign directed at allied foreign governments, asking them to press wireless and internet providers in these countries not to use Huawei equipment, according to The Wall Street Journal.
American officials have talked to their counterparts in Germany, Italy, and Japan – countries where Huawei products are widely used.
An aerial view of Huawei Global Headquarters on November 29, 2018 in Shenzhen, China
The U.S. is worried about the extent to which Chinese-made equipment is used in the telecommunications sectors of countries that host American military bases.
The move has been taken with a greater sense of urgency since internet providers are gearing up to purchase massive amounts of hardware for the much-anticipated 5G upgrade.
The advent of 5G promises to make superfast internet connection available to consumers. It is expected to speed up the development of self-driving cars and other technologies that rely on the internet of things.
Huawei, which sells telecommunications and computer electronics equipment, is the world’s second largest maker of smartphones, behind South Korean giant Samsung.
Huawei overtook Apple earlier this year to move into the No. 2 spot, according to Business Insider.
Founded in China more than 30 years ago, Huawei’s revenue in 2018 exceeded $100billion for the first time in its history, according to CNBC.
Huawei has managed to achieve significant global market share despite the fact that it is largely shut out of the American market.
American lawmakers have claimed, without evidence, that Huawei passed sensitive information collected by its equipment to the Chinese government.
U.S. telecommunications firms fear that partnering with Huawei by allowing it to sell their smartphones would anger the federal government and jeopardize future contracts.
Huawei, for its part, has denied sharing information with the Chinese government, as has ZTE.