The Chinese government has summoned Canada’s ambassador in protest over the arrest of Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou and warned that her continued detention would bring ‘consequences.’
In a statement summoning Canadian Ambassador to China John McCallum, China's vice minister of foreign affairs, Le Yucheng, said Meng's arrest "severely violated the Chinese citizen's legal and legitimate rights and interests, it is lawless, reasonless and ruthless, and it is extremely vicious."
The statement also warned Canada of "serious consequences" if it doesn't release Meng.
China strongly urges Canada to "release the detainee immediately and earnestly protest the person's legal and legitimate rights and interests, otherwise it will definitely have serious consequences, and the Canadian side will have to bear the full responsibility for it," Le said in the statement.
Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver, Canada on December 1 based on an arrest warrant issued by the U.S. which it asked Canada to execute. She has been charged with evading sanctions on Iran to sell the country tech hardware that has been banned under sanctions. Meng faces extradition to the U.S. and her case is being heard in a Canadian court.
Huawei is the world’s biggest technology equipment company and supplies hardware to 170 countries around the world. Meng Wanzhou is also the daughter of the founder of Huawei Ren Zhengfei who has ties to China’s army.
The Chinese government has also summoned the US ambassador to China in relation to Meng’s arrest. Le Yucheng said that China was lodging a "strong protest against the US's unreasonable direction to Canada of detaining the Huawei executive." He said China would like the United States to revoke the arrest warrant against Meng and allow her to be freed.
Meng’s arrest comes even as U.S. and China are embroiled in a trade war. The two sides agreed to a 90 day period during which they would begin negotiations anew. But the U.S. has said the trade negotiations need to reach a successful end by March 1 or new tariffs will be imposed, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Sunday, clarifying there is a "hard deadline".