BEIJING – China criticized the United States and Canada on Thursday for not providing an explanation over the arrest of a top executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei by Canadian authorities for her possible extradition to the US.
Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer and daughter of the Huawei founder, was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1, at the request of the US, where she is wanted for the alleged violation of Washington’s sanctions on Iran.
The Canadian ministry of justice confirmed the arrest but said the details of the case cannot be disclosed due to a court order.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told reporters that Beijing had lodged a formal complaint with the two countries asking for an immediate explanation of the reason behind Meng’s arrest, and demanding her release.
Geng said the arrest “violated the human rights” of the detainee.
Reacting to the charges of violation of US sanctions, the spokesperson said China always respected resolutions of the United Nations Security Council as its member, but was opposed to unilateral imposition of sanctions by any country.
A hearing is set to be held on Friday to determine if Meng – working as Huawei CFO since 2011 and a vice-president of its board of directors – should be extradited to the US or released.
The company in a statement on Thursday denied any wrongdoing by Meng.
The arrest could raise tensions between Washington and Beijing, which have been involved in an intense trade conflict in recent months, with the imposition of multiple tariffs on each other’s products and the US accusing Chinese companies operating in its territory of malpractices.
The arrest took place on the same day when Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump met in Buenos Aires on the sidelines of the G20 Summit and announced the suspension of the trade war pending fresh negotiations.
Asked if the arrest would affect trade negotiations, Geng said both parties should respect the agreement reached by their leaders and continue dialogue to reach a pact.
Huawei, founded in 1987, has become world’s biggest producer of telecom equipment and is among the largest mobile phone manufacturers.