China demands release of tech giant’s executive
China on Thursday demanded that Canada release an executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei who was arrested in a case that compounds tensions with the U.S. and threatens to complicate trade talks.
Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Ltd., faces possible extradition to the United States, according to Canadian authorities. The Globe and Mail newspaper, citing law-enforcement sources, said she is suspected of trying to evade U.S. trade curbs on Iran.
Huawei, the biggest global supplier of network gear used by phone and internet companies, has been the target of deepening U.S. security concerns. Under President Donald Trump and his predecessor, Barack Obama, 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 spying and as commercial competitors. The Trump administration says they benefit from improper subsidies and market barriers.
The timing of the arrest is awkward following the announcement of a U.S.-Chinese ceasefire in a trade war that has its roots in Beijing’s technology policy. Meng was detained in Vancouver on Saturday, the day Trump and Xi Jinping met in Argentina and announced their deal.
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton told NPR that he knew of the pending arrest in advance. He declined to talk about the specifics of the case and said he didn’t know if Trump knew about it before it happened but added that there has been enormous concern about the practice of Chinese firms such as Huawei allegedly using stolen U.S. intellectual property. He said that would be a major subject of negotiations with China.