Huawei executive arrested by Canadian officials at U.S. request

Huawei finance chief arrested in Canada faces extradition to US over Iran sanctions – report

Justice Department spokesman Ian McLeod says in an email that Wanzhou Meng was arrested Saturday.

Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Huawei, was arrested for allegedly attempting to evade newly-implemented USA sanctions. Reuters was unable to determine the precise nature of the violations. Meng was detained in Vancouver but is facing potential extradition to the USA, which had earlier opened an investigation into whether Huawei sold equipment to Iran despite sanctions on exporting there.

"Forget the trade war, it is now all-out economic war with China apparently", Chris Rupkey, chief market economist at MUFG, wrote in a note. Mark Warner want Canada to follow the US and Australia and block Huawei from supplying equipment that would connect Canadians to the high-speed mobile network known as 5G.

Senator Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, said Wednesday night that Huawei and ZTE "are two sides of the same coin - Chinese telecommunications companies that represent a fundamental risk to American national security". Huawei has repeatedly insisted Beijing has no influence over it. Investors have now lost confidence in the long-term effectiveness of the agreement struck between Presidents Trump and Xi at the G20.

Hu Xijin, the editor in chief of the Global Times, described the arrest as a "declaration of war" against China, according to the New York Times.

Huawei confirmed the arrest in a statement and said that it has been provided little information of the charges, adding that it was "not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng".

How have China and Huawei responded?

A statement from the Chinese embassy in Canada was far angrier. China criticized the U.S. and Canada for the arrest, demanding her immediate release. The U.S. leader has spent the past few days seeking to convince the world - and skeptical equity investors - that China has agreed to major concessions, including reducing or removing tariffs on U.S. cars.

The US Justice Department on Wednesday declined to comment. "The company believes the Canadian and USA legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion", Huawei said.

"Their goal is to decouple with China", said Wang Yong, a professor at the School of International Studies at Peking University.

In her first media appearance before the Chinese press in 2013, Meng said she had first joined the company as a secretary "whose job was just to take calls".

The Globe and Mail newspaper, citing law enforcement sources, said she is suspected of trying to evade USA curbs on trade with Iran.

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"You can play hardball with a small country but you can't do it with the US", he said.

Neither Canada nor the US has yet to give "any explanation on the reason for the detention", he added.

Huawei, which sells telecommunications and computer electronics equipment, is the world's second largest maker of smartphones, behind South Korean giant Samsung.

However, the topic ranked only 31st among trending items on Weibo as of Thursday afternoon, with many discussion threads apparently blocked, which is not unusual on China's heavily censored Internet.

Chinese officials are loudly calling for Meng's release and want Canada to reveal the reason for her arrest.

The arrest comes at a delicate time in US-China relations.

The recent trade sanctions from the USA on Huawei is getting much worse.

Huawei said it complies with all laws and rules where it operates, including export controls and sanctions of the United Nations, the USA and European Union.

The arrest coincided with a highly anticipated meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump in Buenos Aires that resulted in a 90-day trade war truce to allow for further talks to address Washington's concerns.

Meng, 46, has been the CFO of Huawei Technologies since 2011 and vice chair of the company since March 2018.

But the arrest of Ms. Meng complicates matters.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., linked the arrest to the American sanctions against Iran. He added: "Sometimes Chinese aggression is explicitly state-sponsored and sometimes it's laundered through many of Beijing's so-called "private" sector entities".

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