Blatant US Overreach! Arrest of Chinese CFO IN TRANSIT Over Canada a Huge Escalation!
A big scandal broke out between America and China. On the same day that Trump shook hands with Xi Jinping at the G20 in Argentina, at the request of the US, Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of China's largest electronics company, Huawei, and the daughter of its CEO, was arrested in Canada. China demands that the prisoner be immediately released. But they might as well talk to a brick wall. The hearings on extradition to the US will be conducted soon; Huawei is accused of violating the USA's sanctions against Iran, which are illegal, by the way. However, there is every reason to believe that this arrest is just another example of the dishonest trade war conducted by the US and an attempt to force a competitor out of the market.
Our staff reporter in Beijing, Anastasiya Sakhovskaya, has the details.
With so many cameras, the media stood in a line to get to the courtroom. There isn't any footage of the hearings. The hearings were closed. There are only sketches. Meng Wanzhou looked calm, often talking with her attorney. The defense pointed out contradictions in the charges and insisted on release on bail. According to them, the prosecutor's fears that the detainee would leave Canada were groundless.
Jim Morris, journalist: «They urged to take into consideration the number of years dedicated to the company owned by her father. She'd disgrace him if she disobeyed the court's decision».
Meng Wanzhou has been working for her father's company for 25 years. She went from a secretary to a deputy chairman of the board. She's expected to become the company's CEO one day. At the same time, they know almost nothing about Princess Huawei, as they call her. Her participation in the Russia Calling Forum was one of her rare public appearances.
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei CFO: «I'm happy to be in Moscow where we opened our company's first foreign branch».
The US has accused the company of espionage before, now it's accused of violating the law on sanctions against Iran. Allegedly, they supplied equipment there through a shell company in Hong Kong, which is what they charged the detained Meng Wanzhou with. Presumably, these are events that took place at least four or five years ago. The attorneys insist that their client had nothing to do with that, and experts see a completely different background in the case.
Just this year, Huawei overtook the Americans and ranked #2 worldwide in smartphone production. The company's share in the market is now at about 15%. The company intends to drive out the South Koreans as well next year to become the industry's leader. But this isn't the most important thing. Huawei is one of the locomotives of the Made in China 2025 program, a large-scale national strategy which promotes import substitution, the localization of production, and the development and export of their own technologies. And these ambitious plans by China are clearly not part of in the USA's plans.
As if on cue, on the same day, Belgium and Japan said that they could opt out of Huawei equipment. The Foreign Ministry of China condemned the selective approach.
Geng Shuang, Spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry: «We are seriously concerned about these messages. The government has always encouraged Chinese companies to obey local laws. We hope that Japan will be able to ensure fair competition».
The Foreign Ministry demanded the immediate release of the Chinese citizen who was detained at the airport when making her connection from Hong Kong to Mexico. By a strange coincidence, it happened on December 1st, the very day that Xi Jinping and Trump's agreements on suspending the trade war were greeted with Argentina. Why did National Security Adviser Bolton applaud as if, as he himself admitted, he knew in advance about the arrest in Canada? Director of Trade and Industrial Policy Peter Navarro said that it was a pure coincidence. Is this a blatant hypocrisy? China demonstrated a keen willingness to settle every trade dispute.
Einar Tangen, CGTN commentator: «Even despite the contradictory statements from the White House, China reiterates that it's ready to take concrete steps. And the US's actions cast doubt on the Americans' sincerity».
A fragile truce is threatened to end before it begins. How will China respond? In economic terms, will it bump US bonds? In diplomatic terms, will mirror arrests of the American corporate elite begin? The detention of Meng Wanzhou could be another card in the USA's unfair game on the world market.
Amanda De Busk, Dechert LLP, partner: «This is definitely a bargaining chip in the larger issue of US-Chinese trade relations. And this is to Trump’s advantage in the 90-day talks with the Chinese government».
Given all of the charges, the Huawei executive is facing up to 30 years in prison. On Monday, the judge will hear out additional arguments of the defense and decide whether to release Meng Wanzhou on bail or leave her in custody until her extradition to the US.
Anastasiya Sakhovskaya, Mikhail Artyukhin for Vesti Nedeli from Beijing, China.