China Says Xi Personally Gave Orders on Handling of Huawei Case
(Bloomberg) -- President Xi Jinping handed down orders for handling the case of Huawei Technologies Co. executive Meng Wanzhou, China said, as Beijing seeks to cast her release as a diplomatic win over the U.S.
“General Secretary Xi Jinping made important instructions,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Monday at a regular press briefing, referring to the 68-year-old’s title as head of the ruling Communist Party.
Hua didn’t elaborate on what Xi specifically did, but said diplomats followed through to see that Meng received consular help, and that solemn representations were lodged with the U.S. and Canada, “asking them to drop the charges and ensure her safe return.”
The Huawei chief financial officer returned to Shenzhen on Saturday after admitting she had misled HSBC Holdings Plc about the telecom company’s business with Iran, in violation of U.S. sanctions. The agreement with federal prosecutors ended an almost three-year extradition battle in Canada as the U.S. sought her prosecution.
At the same time, China released Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were detained on spying charges in what critics in the U.S. and Canada denounced as “hostage diplomacy.” On Monday, Hua asserted that the two cases weren’t connected, saying the Canadians’ release was “totally different.”
“It is thanks to the relentless efforts of the party and the government and the full support of all the Chinese people nationwide that Meng Wanzhou is able to come back safe and sound,” Hua said. “This once again proves that Chinese citizens can rely on a strong China under the leadership of the CPC to have their back.”
Meng’s return meets one of China’s key demands to improve relations that have soured since a trade war erupted during the Trump administration. The deal comes two weeks after President Joe Biden called Xi in frustration over Beijing’s move to link progress on climate change with other demands, including her release as well as lifting sanctions and removing punitive tariffs.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau told Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that Ottawa learned a deal for Meng’s release was likely about two weeks ago.
“The fact that a deferred prosecution agreement proposal had been arrived at between the Department of Justice, which operates independently, and Huawei lawyers, and that Meng Wanzhou was ready to sign it and that it seemed acceptable to the Department of Justice, that sort of unlocked the whole process and things happened extremely rapidly after that,” he said.
China had insisted the U.S. take the first step to improving ties, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi saying earlier this month that America “should meet China halfway.”
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