Following President Donald Trump’s statement that his administration was open to using the arrest of Huawei’s CFO as a bargaining chip in trade talks with China, Canada warned him strongly against doing so, telling him not to politicize the incident.
“Our extradition partners should not seek to politicize the extradition process or use it for ends other than the pursuit of justice,” Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said at a press conference discussing the U.S. request for extradition of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.
Freeland’s comments also come a few days after Trump said that if need be he would intervene in the case in order to help reach a historic trade deal with Beijing.
“If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made — which is a very important thing — what’s good for national security — I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary,” Trump said Tuesday.
The President’s remarks contradicted assertions by senior officials in his administration that Meng Wanzhou’s December 1 arrest should not be tied to his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. China’s state-run media, meanwhile, has insisted the arrest was purely of political nature.
Meng was accused of helping tech giant Huawei violate sanctions on Iran and was arrested in Canada shortly after. Freeland explained later that in arresting the Huawei CFO, Canada was just following the terms of its extradition treaty with the United States. The foreign minister added that she had spoken to American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the case.
Freeland further confirmed the arrest of former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig, an employee of the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit organization.
“Canada is deeply concerned by the detention of Mr. Kovrig and Canada has raised the case directly to Chinese officials,” Freeland said.