China urges Canada to free Huawei CFO or face consequences (Photo: Reuters)
China warned Canada on Saturday 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”.
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s global chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada on Dec. 1 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.
The executive is the daughter of the founder of Huawei.
If extradited to the United States, 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.
No decision was reached at the extradition hearing after nearly six hours of arguments and counter-arguments, and the hearing was adjourned until Monday.
In a short statement, 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”.
Adam Austen, a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, said Saturday there is “nothing to add beyond what the Minister said yesterday”.
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.”