De­tails emerge in Huawei ar­rest

Iran con­nec­tion emerges as Canada’s en­voy briefs China on Huawei ar­rest

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - NATIONAL - MIKE BLANCHFIELD THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

OT­TAWA — As de­tails of Amer­i­can al­le­ga­tions against a Chi­nese ex­ec­u­tive were re­vealed Fri­day in a Van­cou­ver court, For­eign Af­fairs Minister Chrys­tia Free­land said Canada’s am­bas­sador in Bei­jing had briefed the Chi­nese for­eign min­istry on her ar­rest.

Free­land said that Am­bas­sador John McCal­lum has as­sured the Chi­nese for­eign min­istry that due process is be­ing fol­lowed in Canada and con­sular ac­cess will be pro­vided to Meng Wanzhou, the chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer of Huawei Tech­nolo­gies. She was ar­rested at the Van­cou­ver air­port on Satur­day af­ter a re­quest by the United States.

Free­land re­fused to dis­cuss de­tails of the case, cit­ing the im­per­a­tive of keep­ing pol­i­tics out of a live court pro­ceed­ing — one that clearly has mas­sive geopo­lit­i­cal ram­i­fi­ca­tions.

The case will likely in­ten­sify pres­sure on the Trudeau gov­ern­ment, which is be­ing urged to refuse to al­low Huawei prod­ucts in Canada’s nextgen­er­a­tion 5G telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions net­works.

A Cana­dian prose­cu­tor told a Van­cou­ver court on Fri­day that the United States asked Canada to ar­rest Meng be­cause the U. S. al­leges she vi­o­lated sanc­tions on Iran.

The al­le­ga­tion against Meng came in a packed Van­cou­ver court­room dur­ing a hear­ing on whether she should be re­leased on bail be­fore an ex­tra­di­tion process. The Crown lawyer told the hear­ing that the U. S. al­leges Huawei Tech­nolo­gies used sub­sidiary Sky­com to do busi­ness with Iran, vi­o­lat­ing sanc­tions against that coun­try.

Meng is be­ing ac­cused of fraud by the U. S. gov­ern­ment, which wants her ex­tra­dited from Canada to face the charge.

The Crown says Meng is al­leged to have said Huawei and Sky­com were sep­a­rate and she al­legedly lied to an ex­ec­u­tive of an un­named fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion, which it as­serts put the in­sti­tu­tion at risk.

China’s for­eign min­istry has pushed Canada to re­veal the rea­son for the ar­rest and the Chi­nese Em­bassy in Ot­tawa has branded Meng’s ar­rest a se­ri­ous vi­o­la­tion of hu­man rights.

Free­land high­lighted McCal­lum’s el­e­vated diplo­matic sta­tus as a for­mer Liberal cab­i­net minister, and char­ac­ter­ized his con­ver­sa­tion with the Chi­nese as pos­i­tive.

“I have not spo­ken di­rectly to Chi­nese of­fi­cials but John McCal­lum, our am­bas­sador to China — our very se­nior am­bas­sador to China — has spo­ken with Chi­nese of­fi­cials,” Free­land said Fri­day in a tele­con­fer­ence from meet­ings in Ber­lin. “And he has as­sured China that due process is ab­so­lutely be­ing fol­lowed in Canada and con­sular ac­cess for China to Ms. Meng will be pro­vided, and that we are a rule- of- law coun­try, and we will be fol­low­ing our laws as we have thus far in this mat­ter, and as we will con- tinue to do.”

Free­land re­it­er­ated what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thurs­day: that Meng’s ar­rest was part of an in­de­pen­dent le­gal process that is sep­a­rate from pol­i­tics.

“The Chi­nese are well aware of John’s se­nior­ity,” she said. “They have had a good con­ver­sa­tion with John. John has been very clear with the Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties — as we are with Cana­di­ans — that this was a mat­ter han­dled as a part of our rule- oflaw process; it was done with­out any en­gage­ment on in­volve­ment in the po­lit­i­cal level be­cause we re­spect the in­de­pen­dence of our ju­di­ciary.”

McCal­lum was clear that Chi­nese con­sular of­fi­cials will have ac­cess to Meng “just as we seek con­sular ac­cess for de­tained Cana­di­ans around the world, in­clud­ing in China.”

Meng’s fa­ther, the bil­lion­aire Ren Zhengfei, founded Huawei Tech­nolo­gies Ltd. in 1987 and es­tab­lished it in the south­ern China city of Shen­zhen, across the border from Hong Kong.

Among other things, it is work­ing with Telus and Bell Canada to de­velop equip­ment for fifth- gen­er­a­tion wire­less net­works that are ex­pected to trans­form telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions around the world over the next decade or more.

Huawei has be­come the world’s big­gest sup­plier of equip­ment used by phone and in­ter­net com­pa­nies. But the com­pany has faced wide­spread al­le­ga­tions that is it is an es­pi­onage or­gan of the Chi­nese mil­i­tary and se­cu­rity ser­vices — an ac­cu­sa­tion the com­pany strongly de­nies.

The U. S. has led a charge to ban the use of Huawei prod­ucts among its al­lies, par­tic­u­larly the Five Eyes in­tel­li­gence- shar­ing net­work that also in­cludes Canada, Aus­tralia, Bri­tain and New Zealand. So far, New Zealand and Aus­tralia have banned the com­pany from their 5G net­works; Bri­tain has ex­pressed con­cerns and is con­sid­er­ing mea­sures.

Asked this week about a pos­si­ble Cana­dian ban on Huawei, Trudeau said he would de­fer to the ad­vice of his in­tel­li­gence agen­cies.

The new di­rec­tor of the Cana­dian Se­cu­rity In­tel­li­gence Ser­vice flagged is­sues sur­round­ing 5G tech­nol­ogy in a ma­jor speech this week in which he de­scribed the threat to Canada’s na­tional se­cu­rity posed by “eco­nomic es­pi­onage” from “hos­tile states.”

David Vigneault did not name China or Huawei in his speech, but he noted that “many of these ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies are dual- use in na­ture in that they could ad­vance a coun­try’s eco­nomic, se­cu­rity or mil­i­tary in­ter­ests.”

“In par­tic­u­lar, CSIS has seen a trend of state- spon­sored es­pi­onage in fields that are cru­cial to Canada’s abil­ity to build and sus­tain a pros­per­ous, knowl­edge- based econ­omy,” he added. “I’m talk­ing about ar­eas such as A. I., quan­tum tech­nol­ogy, 5G, bio­pharma, and clean tech.”

On Thurs­day, for­mer prime minister Stephen Harper told Fox Busi­ness News that while he was in power he be­came in­creas­ingly con­cerned about al­low­ing the use of equip­ment from Huawei and ZTE, an­other Chi­nese tele­com- equip­ment man­u­fac­turer.

“These are or­ga­ni­za­tions, ul­ti­mately, tightly tied to the Chi­nese se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus, and we think there are some real, se­ri­ous is­sues there,” Harper said. “The United States is en­cour­ag­ing west­ern al­lies to es­sen­tially push Huawei out of the emerg­ing 5G net­work, and my per­sonal view is that is some­thing that west­ern coun­tries should be do­ing in terms of our own long- term se­cu­rity is­sues.”

JANE WOLSAK/ THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

In this court­room sketch, Meng Wanzhou, back right, the chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer of Huawei Tech­nolo­gies, sits be­side a trans­la­tor dur­ing a bail hear­ing at B. C. Supreme Court in Van­cou­ver, on Fri­day. She was ar­rested Satur­day af­ter an ex­tra­di­tion re­quest from the United States while in tran­sit at the city’s air­port.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.