OTTAWA – The United States will proceed with the formal extradition from Canada of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, Canada’s ambassador to the United States told the Globe and Mail, in a move certain to ratchet up tensions with China.
David MacNaughton, in an interview with the Canadian newspaper published on Monday, said the U.S. has told Canada it will request Meng’s extradition, but he did not say when the request will be made. The deadline for filing is Jan. 30, or 60 days after Meng was arrested on Dec. 1 in Vancouver.
Meng, the daughter of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested at the request of the United States over alleged violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran. She was released on bail last month and is due in court in Vancouver on Feb. 6.
The Chinese firm, the world’s biggest maker of telecommunications equipment, said it had no comment on ongoing legal proceedings when contacted by Reuters on Tuesday. A U.S. Justice Department spokesman said, “We will comment through our filings.”
Canada is one of over 100 countries with which the United States has extradition treaties. Once a formal request is received, a Canadian court must determine within 30 days if there is sufficient evidence to support extradition, and Canada’s Minister of Justice must give a formal order.
In an article published on Monday, a former Canadian spy chief said Canada should ban Huawei from supplying equipment for next-generation telecoms networks because the security risk is too great.
China’s ambassador last week threatened repercussions if Ottawa blocked Huawei, a warning the Canadian government dismissed.
Canadian officials are studying the security implications of 5G networks, the latest generation of cellular mobile communications, but their report is not expected in the immediate future, a source close to the matter said last week.
Richard Fadden, who served as the head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service spy agency from 2009 to 2013, cited what he said was mounting evidence for blocking Huawei.
“Canada’s government should ignore the threats and ban Huawei from Canada’s 5G networks to protect the security of Canadians,” he wrote in the Globe and Mail.
Some Canadian allies have already imposed restrictions on using Huawei equipment, citing the risk of espionage.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale on Monday told reporters that other companies could supply equipment for future 5G networks but did not give details.
China detained two Canadians last month after the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, and demanded she be released. A court later retried a Canadian who had already been jailed for drug smuggling and sentenced him to death.
“If China would resort to putting Canadians to death to defend its corporate national champion, what might it do if the Chinese Communist Party had unfettered access to Canada’s vital communications networks?” said Fadden.
Neither Huawei nor the Chinese Embassy responded to requests for comment.
A group of 143 academics and former ambassadors from around the world on Monday released an open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping, urging him to free the two detained Canadians.
“(We) must now be more cautious about traveling and working in China and engaging our Chinese counterparts,” they wrote.
“That will lead to less dialogue and greater distrust, and undermine efforts to manage disagreements and identify common ground. Both China and the rest of the world will be worse off as a result.”
John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, said last Friday that his top priority was the release of the two detainees and scrapping the death penalty for the condemned man.
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