BEIJING — China on Thursday demanded Canada release a Huawei Technologies executive who was arrested in a case that adds to technology tensions with Washington and threatens to complicate trade talks.
Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, faces possible extradition to the United States, according to Canadian authorities. The Globe and Mail newspaper, citing law enforcement sources, said she is accused of trying to evade U.S. curbs on trade with Iran.
The timing is awkward following the announcement of a U.S.-Chinese cease-fire in a tariff war over Beijing’s technology policy. Meng was detained in Vancouver on Saturday, the day Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping met in Argentina and announced their deal.
Asian stock markets tumbled on the news, fearing renewed U.S.-Chinese tensions that threaten global economic growth. Market indexes in Tokyo and Hong Kong by 1.9 per cent and 2.8 per cent and Shanghai was off 1.7 per cent at midday.
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 Chinese side expresses firm opposition and strongly protests this serious violation of human rights,” said an embassy statement.
Huawei Technologies Ltd., the biggest global supplier of network gear used by phone and internet companies, has been the target of deepening U.S. security concerns. Washington has pressured European countries and other allies to limit use of its technology.
The U.S. sees Huawei and smaller Chinese tech suppliers as possible fronts for Chinese spying and as commercial competitors that the Trump administration says benefit from improper subsidies and market barriers.
Trump’s tariff hikes this year on Chinese imports stemmed from complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. But American officials also worry more broadly about Chinese plans for state-led industry development they worry might erode U.S. industrial leadership.
U.S. leaders also worry that Beijing is using the growth of Chinese business abroad to gain strategic leverage.
“The United States is stepping up containment of China in all respects,” said Zhu Feng, an international relations expert at Nanjing University. He said targeting Huawei, one of the most successful Chinese companies, “will trigger anti-U.S. sentiment in China.”
“The incident could turn out to be a breaking point,” Zhu said.
Last month, New Zealand blocked a mobile phone company from using Huawei equipment, saying it posed a “significant network security risk.” In August, Australia banned the company from working on the country’s fifth-generation network due to security concerns.
The Wall Street Journal reported this year that U.S. authorities are investigating whether Huawei violated sanctions on Iran. The Chinese government appealed to Washington to avoid any steps that might damage business confidence.
Huawei’s Chinese rival, ZTE Corp., was nearly driven out of business this year when Washington barred it from buying U.S. technology over exports to North Korea and Iran. Trump restored access after ZTE agreed to pay a $1 billion fine, replace its executive team and embed a U.S.-chosen compliance team in the company.
Huawei is regarded as far stronger commercially than ZTE. The company based in Shenzhen, near Hong …read more
Source:: Nationalpost – News