Canada Hasn’t Asked U.S. to Drop Huawei CFO Extradition Request

(Bloomberg) -- Canada hasn’t asked the U.S. to drop its extradition case against a top Huawei Technologies Co. executive and may meet with Chinese officials on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, Justin Trudeau’s top diplomat said.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, speaking to Bloomberg Television in Davos, Switzerland, said Meng Wanzhou will have full access to Canada’s legal system and that it would be “absolutely wrong” for the case to be politicized. Huawei’s chief financial officer was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1 after an extradition request by the U.S. in an Iran sanctions case.

“The detention of Ms. Meng is a criminal justice matter exclusively. We would object very strongly to the notion that it is being politicized or used as political leverage in any way,” Freeland said Tuesday. “I want to remind people that she’s out on bail right now, she owns some beautiful homes in Vancouver, and is there. She has had and will continue to have full access to the Canadian judicial system, which is impartial and objective.”

Freeland’s comments come amid an escalating diplomatic feud between China and Canada. Since Meng’s arrest, China has demanded her release, seized two Canadians and sentenced a third man to death.

Canada is also in the middle of deciding whether to restrict or ban Huawei from its 5G networks. Freeland said that review is ongoing and that “it will take as long as it takes” to complete. She declined to say if she believed there was any history of espionage by the company, or ties between it and China’s government. “I’m not going to prejudge a decision,” she said.

Asked if she’ll speak with Chinese officials in Davos, Freeland said only: “we’ll see.” She said the recent tensions with China are of “really central concern to our government.”

The U.S. has told Canada that it will proceed with extradition and Freeland said Canada hasn’t asked Washington to do otherwise.

“But Canada has spoken to the United States about the case. It’s the decision for the United States whether to seek an extradition of someone from Canada,” she said. Pressed on what could lead to the case being dropped, she said: “That’s up to the Americans.”

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