Donald Trump’s top representative in Canada is denying Chinese claims of a political motive behind the arrest in Canada of a key executive with the Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei.
U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft said the claim circulating in Chinese state media that Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’s arrest in Canada was part of a political conspiracy engineered by Ottawa and Washington to punish Chinese tech firms or pressure Beijing over its trade practices is « absolutely false. »
Craft told Canadian journalists from her Ottawa residence this morning that Meng’s arrest and possible extradition to the United States are part of an ongoing « independent judiciary process » and that the situation is « very delicate. »
« This is part of our judicial process. It is just a matter that I cannot comment on, » she said.
Asked how she took Chinese threats of unspecified « consequences » for Canada over Meng’s arrest, Craft again cited the need to respect the legal process.
« Once again, this is a judicial process, it is a very delicate process, and I don’t want to be involved in something that is an ongoing independent judiciary process, » she said. « (Canadian and American) law enforcement works very closely together. »
Meng. 46, is Huawei’s chief financial officer, and also the daughter of the firm’s founder. She was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1. She is wanted for extradition to the U.S. on allegations of fraud, including using a shell company to skirt international American sanctions on Iran over five years.
Meng’s bail hearing in Vancouver continues today. At issue Monday was the question of whether she poses a flight risk.
Craft was also asked whether the Americans have talked to Canada about how it might cope with the diplomatic and economic fallout from banning Huawei from taking part in building Canada’s 5G telecommunications network.
In a recent letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio urged him to keep Chinese tech out of the planned new high-speed network, warning that allowing Huawei into Canada’s 5G would put intelligence-sharing between Canada and the U.S. at risk.
Craft kicked the question up the ladder: « We had spoken to all our allies about this issue. It’s something that’s between my administration and your administration. The Canadian government will make that decision based on their findings. »