Canada’s top diplomat defends Huawei CFO detention at US talks

World Today

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, second from right, with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, right, and their Canadian counterparts Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland and Canadian Minister of Defense Harjit Sajjan, left, speaks to reporters during a news conference following meeting at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

One day after Beijing confirmed the detention of a second Canadian, Ottawa is still defending the December first arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, at the request of the United States.

CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.

“Canada detaining this person was not a Canadian judgment, and in Canada, there’s been no political interference. This is a question of living up to international treaty obligations and that has happened scrupulously,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said.

Washington wants Canada to extradite Meng and prosecute her for fraud, for allegedly violating sanctions on Iran. She’s now out on bail, but required to remain in Canada.

On Monday, Canadian citizens, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were detained in China, accused of jeopardizing China’s national security.

“The unlawful detention of two Canadian citizens is unacceptable. They ought to be returned,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “The United States has stood for that, whether they’re our citizens or citizens of other countries.”

While some question whether Beijing’s detention of the two Canadian citizens in China was a response to the arrest of Huawei’s Meng, Minister Freeland says in her conversations with Chinese officials, they have made no such connection.

But U.S. President Donald Trump has connected the Huawei arrest to trade talks with China.

Earlier this week, he said might be willing to intervene in Meng’s case if it helped secure a trade deal with Beijing. Freeland says no citizen’s freedom should be used as leverage.

“Canada understands that the rule of law and extradition issues ought not ever be politicized or used as tools to solve other problems,” she said.

In the meantime, Canadians are expressing real concern about whether it’s safe to travel to China.

Canada’s tourism minister Melanie Joly, has already cancelled a trip to China that was planned for next week.

Policy analyst Brian Becker on latest in US-Canada talks on arrest of Meng Wanzhou

CGTN’s Mike Walter interviewed Brian Becker, the executive director of the ANSWER Coalition on the latest on the the meeting between Canadian and U.S. officials on the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.