BEIJING – China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs summoned US Ambassador in China Terry Branstad on Sunday night to present a formal complaint against the detention of Huawei’s CFO in Canada, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Huawei CFO Meng Wangzhou was arrested by Canadian authorities in Vancouver on Dec 1 at the request of the United States, on charges of having violated US sanctions against Iran. The executive had arrived in Vancouver from Hong Kong and was preparing to fly to Mexico when she was detained.
China increased pressure on Canada to release Meng on Sunday, and threatened the country with “grave consequences” over her detention, making the case one of the worst diplomatic conflicts between Beijing and Ottawa.
“What the United States has done severely violates Chinese citizens’ legitimate rights and interests, and is vile in nature,” said Vice Minister Le Yucheng in a statement, according to Xinhua.
According to the statement, China is urging the Trump administration to take China’s stance seriously, take immediate measures to correct the “wrong practices,” and withdraw the arrest warrant against Meng.
“China will respond further according to the U.S. side’s actions,” the statement added.
The executive asked for bail on Friday before a Canadian court, which will decide whether to approve her extradition to the US, where she is accused of evading the US sanctions against Iran. American authorities alleged that Huawei used the company SkyCom to violate the sanctions.
During a hearing held in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver, the prosecution argued that the 46-year-old daughter of Huawei’s founder could flee the country if granted bail.
The Canadian prosecutor’s office said Meng should be kept under arrest until the extradition case is settled, since the Chinese citizen no longer resides in Canada, although she has properties in Vancouver and spends several weeks a year in the country.