BC trade mission to China suspended after arrest of Huawei CFO in Vancouver

Dec 10 2018, 5:47 pm

As international fallout continues after the recent arrest of Huwei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver recently, the BC government said an upcoming planned trade mission to China has now been suspended, as a result of the ongoing legal proceedings.

Meng was arrested on December 1 while she was transferring flights at YVR. A spokesperson for the Department of Justice Canada told Daily Hive Meng is being sought for extradition by the United States.

In a statement, BC Jobs Minister Bruce Ralston said the province has “suspended the China leg of its Asian forestry trade mission due to the international judicial process underway,” in connection with Meng’s arrest.

“British Columbia values its strong trade relationship with China, one based on mutual respect and close economic and cultural ties that have been established over many decades,” said Ralston. “Our forest products industry remains committed to our relationship with our valued Chinese customers.”

The scheduled December 2018 Forestry Asia Trade Mission, which was led by forestry and natural resources minister Doug Donaldson has already completed the South Korea portion of the mission and will finish up the Japan portion of the mission on Tuesday, December 11.

The delegation was then scheduled to travel to China but instead will now return to BC at that time.

Following Meng’s arrest, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Geng Shuang responded to the news, demanding clarification regarding the reason for her arrest – as well as her immediate release – at a press conference last Thursday.

According to a CNN report, the US is claiming that Meng “covered up” violations of sanctions on Iran. This is also believed to have helped Huawei “circumvent US sanctions by telling financial institutions that a Huawei subsidiary was a separate company.”

US National Security Adviser John Bolton also chimed in on the case, claiming that his country has had “enormous concerns for years” about “the practice… of Chinese firms to use stolen American intellectual property.”

Huawei, he explained, is one company the US has been particularly concerned about.

According to the report, “Meng’s attorney said she would not breach a court order because doing so would embarrass her personally, and would also humiliate her father, Huawei and China itself.”

Meng is the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei.

China objects to “groundless accusations”

Speaking at Thursday’s press conference, Shuang responded to allegations that Meng’s arrest had to do with Chinese intelligence services being suspected of involvement in the hacking of the US hotel group Marriot, saying that he was “not aware” of the situation.

“China firmly opposes all forms of cyber attack and cracks down on them in accordance with law,” he furthered. “We firmly object to making groundless accusations on the issue of cybersecurity.”

He also responded to the idea that Meng could be found guilty in Canada for being in breach of sanctions the US has imposed on Iran.

“As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has been faithfully and strictly implementing all the resolutions adopted by the Security Council,” he said. “We oppose the imposition of unilateral sanctions by certain country outside the framework of the Security Council.”

This position, he added, “is consistent and clear-cut.”

Meng appeared at a bail hearing in BC Supreme Court this past Friday, and is scheduled to be back in court again, today.

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