The US will go ahead with formal extradition proceedings to bring the detained Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou to America from Canada, it has been reported, despite the risk of increased trans-Pacific tensions.
Canada’s ambassador to the US, David MacNaughton, said in an interview on Monday that Washington had told Ottawa it will make the formal request, without going into detail on timing.
Ms Meng was detained by Canada on 1 December at the request of the United States, meaning the deadline for filing the extradition request falls on 30 January – 60 days later.
The US accuses Ms Meng of involvement in alleged violations of American sanctions against Iran. As well as being Huawei’s chief financial officer, she is the daughter of its founder, Ren Zhengfei.
Mr MacNaughton told the Globe and Mail that Canada had complained to the US about the fallout from its decision to detain Ms Meng. The incident has hurt Sino-Canadian relations, with China detaining two Canadian citizens and sentencing to death a Canadian man previously found guilty of drug smuggling.
“We don’t like that it is our citizens who are being punished,” Mr MacNaughton said. “[The Americans] are the ones seeking to have the full force of American law brought against [Ms Meng] and yet we are the ones who are paying the price. Our citizens are.”
Meanwhile, in an article also published on Monday, a former Canadian spy chief said Canada should ban Huawei from supplying equipment for next-generation telecoms networks, while Canada’s government is studying any security implications.
Some of Canada’s allies, including the US and Australia, have already imposed restrictions on using Huawei equipment, citing the risk of it being used for espionage.
In December, the UK’s defence secretary Gavin Williamson was quoted as saying that he had very deep concerns about Huawei’s involvement in upgrading the UK’s 5G mobile network.
And Oxford University said last week it was suspending all new donations and sponsorships from the Chinese company “in the light of public concerns… surrounding UK partnerships with Huawei”.
Huawei has repeatedly said such concerns are unfounded, while China’s ambassador to Canada said there would be repercussions if Ottawa blocked the company.