Beijing | China on Tuesday warned the US and Canada that it will “take action” against them if they went ahead with the extradition of the CFO of Chinese telecom giant Huawei to America and accused both the countries of “abusing” their extradition treaty.
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s global chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada on December 1 and faces extradition to the US, which alleges that she covered up her company’s links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions linked to its nuclear programme.
If found guilty Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, could be jailed for up to 30 years.
In November, the US reimposed punitive measures targeting the Iranian oil and financial sectors in what was termed as “the toughest sanctions ever placed” against Iran. The measures are the most concrete result yet of US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision in May to abandon the multi-nation nuclear deal with Tehran.
“China will take action in response to measures taken by the US,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying warned.
“Everyone has to be held responsible for their own actions. Both the US and Canada should be aware of the seriousness of the case and take steps to rectify the mistake,” Hua said.
Hua said the case was an abuse of extradition convention and called on the US to withdraw the request.
Canada’s daily paper Globe and Mail reported on Tuesday that the US will file an extradition request on allegations of banking fraud related to the violations of the US sanctions against Iran.
The report said Canada’s ambassador to the US David Mac Naughton, has met with senior White House and the US State Department officials about Meng’s case several times.
The ambassador was quoted as saying that he has expressed Canada’s anger and resentment to Washington about the dispute that resulted from Meng’s arrest in December.
Beijing has since detained two Canadians and imposed a death penalty on a third Canadian convicted of drugs smuggling charges.
“We do not like that it is our citizens who are being punished,” Naughton was quoted as saying.
“(The Americans) are the ones seeking to have the full force of American law brought against (Meng) and yet we are the ones who are paying the price,” the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
Meng’s arrest was on the same day that Trump met in Argentina with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to look for ways to resolve an escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
The standoff over Meng between the US and China persists ahead of the scheduled talks in Washington from January 30-31 between the top trade officials of both the countries to end the current trade war.
Asked if Meng’s extradition, will affect the trade talks, Hua said what the US did is indeed wrong.
“We urge the US to correct its wrongdoing immediately”.
Hua also dismissed an open letter signed by 140 scholars and former diplomats calling on the Chinese government to release detained Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig saying that they cannot represent the whole international community.
“We have 1.4 billion people. We are on the side of justice. We hope these former diplomats and academics can be reasonable and respect the basic spirit of rule of law,” she said.