U.S. says China should free Canadians held after Huawei arrest

By Lesley Wroughton and David Ljunggren WASHINGTON/OTTAWA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday said China should free two Canadian citizens who were detained this week after authorities in Canada arrested a senior Chinese technology executive on a U.S. extradition warrant

Reuters December 15, 2018 03:05:26 IST
U.S. says China should free Canadians held after Huawei arrest

US says China should free Canadians held after Huawei arrest

By Lesley Wroughton and David Ljunggren

WASHINGTON/OTTAWA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday said China should free two Canadian citizens who were detained this week after authorities in Canada arrested a senior Chinese technology executive on a U.S. extradition warrant.

Pompeo's comments were the first by a senior U.S. official on the arrests, which Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said could escalate a growing trade conflict between China and the United States.

"The unlawful detention of two Canadian citizens is unacceptable," Pompeo told reporters after Washington talks with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. "They ought to be returned. ... We ask all nations of the world to treat other citizens properly."

Canadian officials were granted consular access on Friday to one of the two detainees in China and are still trying to contact the second, the Foreign Ministry said.

China detained the two - businessman Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, an adviser with the International Crisis Group and a former diplomat - after Canadian police arrested Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's [HWT.UL] chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, on Dec 1.

U.S. prosecutors accuse Meng of misleading multinational banks about Iran-linked transactions, putting the banks at risk of violating U.S. sanctions. Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei's founder, has said she is innocent.

Potentially complicating the case, President Donald Trump made comments this week that legal experts say may have undermined the U.S. basis for extradition.

Freeland, asked about the remarks, said, "We all agree that the most important thing we can do is to uphold the rule of law, ensure that Ms. Meng's right to due process is respected and that the current judicial process in Canada remains apolitical."

Trudeau, in his strongest comments on the matter to date, said China's detention of the two men was "not acceptable."

China rejects Trudeau's insistence that the government cannot interfere with the judiciary. Meng was released on bail this week but has to remain in Canada.

"This is one of the situations you get in when the two largest economies in the world, China and the United States, start picking a fight with each other," Trudeau told City TV in Toronto.

"The escalating trade war between them is going to have all sorts of unintended consequences on Canada, potentially on the entire global economy. We're very worried about that," he said.

Lu Shaye, China's ambassador to Canada, on Friday told a university conference that the prospects for deeper business ties were good despite the dispute. He declined to comment when pressed by reporters about Trudeau's remarks.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton and David Ljunggren; Additional reporting by Idrees Ali and David Alexander in Washington; editing by Alistair Bell and Leslie Adler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.