OTTAWA, Jan 18, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Canada’s top diplomat on Thursday praised
Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei for trusting the Canadian legal system as his
daughter fights extradition to the United States.
Meng Wanzhou, also a Huawei executive, was arrested in Vancouver last month
on a US warrant over Iran sanctions-linked fraud charges — a move Chinese
ambassador to Canada Lu Shayne branded “backstabbing” earlier in the day.
“I think those were very gracious comments he made,” Canadian Foreign
Minister Chrystia Freeland said. “I think it’s very natural that he would be
concerned about his daughter.”
“And I was glad to hear directly from him that he feels his daughter has
been treated fairly by the Canadian judicial system and with kindness, and
certainly the objective of the Canadian government is that our judicial
system should treat everyone impartially, fairly and indeed with kindness.”
In a rare meeting with reporters this week, Ren had said: “I trust that the
legal systems of Canada and the United States are open, just, and fair, and
will reach a just conclusion.”
He also thanked Meng’s cellmates “for treating her kindly” before she was
granted bail, days after her arrest.
Ottawa and Beijing remain locked in an escalating row.
In a move widely seen as a counterstroke, Chinese authorities arrested
former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor last month,
accusing them of endangering national security.
Ottawa insisted they had been “arbitrarily” detained and that
interrogations of Kovrig breached the Vienna Convention on diplomatic
relations — allegations Beijing flatly rejected.
Former Canadian justice minister Irwin Cotler went further, accusing China
in an email to The Canadian Press of “hostage diplomacy.”
On Thursday, ambassador Lu Shayne warned of “repercussions” if Canada joins
intelligence-sharing allies in barring Huawei from its 5G networks — and
urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to back off recruiting international
support in the feud.
Australia, Britain, France, Germany, the European Union and the United
States have all backed Canada’s demand for its citizens’ release.
Trudeau has also raised their plight in recent calls to the leaders of
Argentina, Finland, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore.
Next week, Freeland will lead a Canadian delegation to the World Economic
Forum in Davos, where they will press Canada’s case to world leaders and
business executives. Lu also warned against this.
Freeland has called Beijing’s recent behavior “a threat to all countries.”
Meanwhile Canadian ambassador to China John McCallum, back home to brief
lawmakers, said Thursday: “I think we have to engage the senior Chinese
leaders and persuade them that what they are doing… it’s not good for the
image of corporate China in the world.”