- Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of its founder, may soon be in US custody, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
- Meng is accused of violating US sanctions by doing business with Iran and is out on bail in Vancouver, British Columbia. The US will look to make a formal extradition request “within a week,” The Times said.
- The Times’ report comes amid preparations for critical trade talks between Washington and Beijing set for next week.
American officials say they are on track to have Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei and the daughter of its founder, extradited to the US to stand trial, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
Meng was detained at the US’s request in the airport in Vancouver, British Columbia, on December 1. She’s accused of violating US sanctions by misleading US banks about doing business with Iran.
“We will continue to pursue the extradition of defendant Ms. Meng Wanzhou, and will meet all deadlines set by the U.S.-Canada Extradition Treaty,” Marc Raimondi, a Justice Department spokesman, said in a statement to The Times. “We greatly appreciate Canada’s continuing support in our mutual efforts to enforce the rule of law.”
A senior official in Canada’s Foreign Ministry also told The Times that Canada expected the US to proceed with an extradition request.
But the US and Canada don’t appear to be seeing exactly eye-to-eye on the matter, as Ottawa increasingly finds itself caught between two superpowers.
The Globe and Mail newspaper on Tuesday described Canada’s ambassador to the US, David MacNaughton, as saying he had “voiced Canadian anger and resentment to the Trump administration about the dispute that resulted from the arrest of Ms. Meng.”
While the Americans “are the ones seeking to have the full force of American law brought against” Meng, MacNaughton said, it is Canada that is “paying the price.”
China was quick to respond, demanding the US not request extradition.
Among now routine insinuations of retribution for Meng’s arrest, a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry, Hua Chunying, said on Tuesday that Canada’s extradition treaty with the US “severely infringes upon the security and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.”
“Anyone with normal judgment can see that the Canadian side has made a serious mistake on this issue from the very beginning,” she said. “The Meng Wanzhou case is obviously not an ordinary judicial case.”
Hua accused Canada and the US of “arbitrarily abusing their bilateral extradition treaty.”
She urged Canada to immediately release Meng and offered a warning to the US.
The Chinese “strongly urge the US side to immediately correct its mistake, withdraw its arrest warrant for Ms. Meng Wanzhou, and refrain from making formal extradition request to the Canadian side,” Hua said.
The Times highlighted that an extradition request would come amid the US-China trade dispute and ahead of talks between Beijing and Washington set for next week, led on the US side by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, a noted China hawk.
With US President Donald Trump staring down the longest partial government shutdown in US history and a trade war that’s already causing significant economic damage to both nations, there’s enough riding on the talks in Washington for negotiators to seek every advantage and leverage every pressure point.
While US officials have sought to distance Meng’s detention from broader tensions with China, Trump has said he would be willing to intervene in her case to secure a trade deal.
The US has come down hard on Huawei and its ambitions to build global next-generation mobile and data networks, saying they would pose national-security concerns.