More countries threaten Huawei ban as arrest clouds US-China ties

BEIJING: China’s official media came out all guns blazing on Friday in condemning the United States as a “despicable rogue” for facilitating the detention of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, who is the daughter of the company’s founder . Meng is awaiting a court hearing on her bail application in Vancouver, Canada, where she was arrested on a request by the US.

The arrest of a top-ranking officer of one of China’s leading tech companies on charges of technology theft and misuse has given a new twist to the trade and technology war between Washington and Beijing, even as the company ran into trouble in other countries — mainly Japan, which banned its government staff from buying Huawei devices, and the UK, which made the firm submit to special security norms to continue to operate. Huawei even pledged to spend $2 billion to address security issues raised by Britain.

The incident may intensify the trade war and reverse some of the gains achieved at the recent parleys between US President and Chinese President , even as Trump said on Friday that negotiations with China were “going very well”.

Trump had met Xi at the weekend and agreed to a 90-day tariff truce in order to find a more permanent solution to the costly dispute, but messages since have been mixed, roiling global stock markets.

The arrest also stroked fears of a potential backlash on American companies operating in China. At a closed-door security meeting of American firms in Singapore on Thursday, the topic of the arrest was high on the agenda.

Officials from major US companies who attended the event – a scheduled meeting of the local chapter of the US department of state‘s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) – voiced their concerns about a Chinese reprisal, two people with knowledge of the meeting said.

A number of attendees said their companies were considering restricting non-essential China travel and looking to move meetings outside the country, one of the people added.

Security executives for firms including Walt Disney, Alphabet‘s Google, Facebook, and attended the meeting, according to the sources and a LinkedIn posting by one of the attendees.

The companies all declined to comment or did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Meng was detained on December 1 in Canada for allegedly selling US-made components to Iran and violating sanctions against the West Asian country. The detention was part of an American investigation into an alleged scheme to use the global banking system to evade US sanctions against Iran.

China has demanded her release, saying there has been no wrongdoing. Chinese state media have accused the US of trying to “stifle” Huawei and curb its global expansion. The case has emerged in the midst of US moves against Chinese companies accused of stealing technology and Beijing’s suspicion that Washington is trying to use politics to weaken China’s continued growth.

Meng also faces possible extradition from Canada. Fighting extradition proceedings can take years. She will be required in the West by both Huawei and the Chinese government to play an active role lobbying for China during the ongoing trade war.

Canadian President has said the country’s courts acted independently and there was no political involvement in the case. “We respect the independence of our judicial processes,” he said, adding, “Further to that, I have not had any direct or indirect conversation with any of my international counterparts on this.”

The White House also denied any involvement in Meng’s arrest.

Download The Times of India for Latest .

Receive News & Ratings Via Email - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings with our FREE daily email newsletter.