Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Trump to Envoy Canada Says Huawei Arrest Not Political, but China Rise Is Worrying

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Trump to Envoy Canada Says Huawei Arrest Not Political, but China Rise Is Worrying

Article excerpt

Huawei arrest not political, Trump envoy says

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OTTAWA - China's economic and political rise may be bad news for North American workers but the U.S. pursuit of a Huawei executive is a separate legal matter, says Donald Trump's envoy to Canada.

Ambassador Kelly Craft said Tuesday it was "absolutely false" to assume a political motive behind the controversial arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the Chinese telecom giant's chief financial officer.

Canada detained Meng at the request of the United States when she was passing through Vancouver on Dec. 1. The United States wants Meng to face charges related to possible violations of trade sanctions against Iran.

"It is a very delicate process, and I don't want to be involved in something that is an ongoing, independent judiciary process. Our law enforcement work very closely together," Craft told a small group of journalists at her Ottawa residence on Tuesday.

Craft's view is in lockstep with the Trudeau government, which has repeatedly stressed the role of an independent law-enforcement and legal system in Meng's case.

The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa has loudly protested Meng's arrest as a violation of her human rights and Chinese state-controlled media have been fanning the flames against the Canadian action.

"(W)hat's certain is that Canada cannot fool China with its simple excuse of an independent legal system, and, given China's strong response and the tempest of public protest it has caused, the move will not bode well for Canada in many aspects," says a column in the China's Global Times this week.

Canada now finds itself in the unenviable position of being caught between two superpowers, but China's pressure will ultimately prove futile, said retired Canadian diplomat Philip Calvert, who held several China-related economic and political posts during his career.

"Canada's best defence is to scrupulously follow an objective legal process that is divorced from political influence. It is called the rule of law and China could do with more of it," wrote Calvert, a senior fellow with the China Institute of the University of Alberta, in an op-ed for the Nikkei Asian Review.

Craft went beyond the Meng case on Tuesday. The U.S. wants the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network that also includes Canada, Australia, Britain and New Zealand to shun Huawei. So far, New Zealand and Australia have banned the company from their 5G networks while Britain has expressed concerns.

Craft reiterated her government's desire to see its allies keep Huawei products out of their infrastructure, something Canada has yet to do.

Without naming it, Craft referred to Beijing's ambitious "Belt and Road'' investment program as a worrying development. The multibillion-dollar infrastructure project spans continents to create land and sea trade routes connecting China with Europe, Africa and the rest of Asia. It's been embraced in many countries, including many in the developed world, while richer countries -- especially the U. …

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