China on Thursday demanded Canada release a top executive at a Chinese technology firm — the daughter of the company’s founder — developments that could complicate the already high tensions over trade between Washington and Beijing and further roil global markets.
Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies and a member of its board, was arrested in Vancouver last Saturday at the request of US authorities.
She’s the daughter of the company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei.
“She is sought for extradition by the United States, and a bail hearing has been set for Friday,” Justice Department spokesman Ian McLeod said in a statement to The Globe and Mail on Wednesday. “As there is a publication ban in effect, we cannot provide any further detail at this time. The ban was sought by Ms. Meng.”
The newspaper, citing US sources, said Wanzhou, 46, was trying to evade sanctions the Trump administration placed on Iran.
In a statement, Huawei said Wanzhou was arrested while changing planes in Canada and faces “unspecified federal charges in the Eastern District of New York.”
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday called on the US to release her and explain why she was detained.
“The Chinese side has made clear our solemn positions to the United States and Canada, and asked them to clarify the reason of the detention and to release the detainee immediately, and to earnestly safeguard the legal and legitimate rights and interests of the person involved, “Geng Shuang, the ministry’s spokesman, said.
It went on to say that the US has provided little information about the charges against her and said the company was not aware of any wrongdoing by Meng.
David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said China could retaliate against US and Canadian executives.
“That’s something we should be watching out for. It’s a possibility. China plays rough,” he told the Associated Press. “It’s a prominent member of their society and it’s a company that really embodies China’s quest for global recognition as a technology power.”
Meng was arrested the same day President Trump met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and worked out a deal at the G-20 summit in Argentina to suspend imposing new tariffs on each other’s goods.
Huawei, one of the world’s largest smartphone makers along with Samsung and Apple, has come under scrutiny in the US.
It has warned other countries about using the company’s products because the Chinese government may be using them for espionage.
The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on $200 billion of Chinese goods, saying Beijing engages in unfair trading practices and is stealing intellectual property from American companies.
The tiff over trade between the US and China have roiled the markets.
The Dow on Tuesday dropped 799 points on fears of the continuing trade war and a possible downturn.
Markets were closed on Wednesday because of a national day of mourning in honor of former President George H.W. Bush, who died last Friday at the age of 94.
With Post Wires
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