White House Says ‘No Link’ Between Huawei Case and Freed Canadians
(Bloomberg) -- White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki insisted Monday that there’s “no link” between the U.S. settling criminal charges against a Huawei Technologies Co. executive last week and China’s release, hours later, of two Canadians accused of spying.
Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, received a hero’s welcome from the Chinese government upon her return to Shenzhen on Saturday after reaching a deferred prosecution agreement with U.S. prosecutors.
The two Canadians, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, returned to Calgary on Saturday after China granted them bail for unexplained medical reasons. The men were greeted personally by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and are referred to as the “two Michaels” by U.S. and Canadian officials.
Meng had been on house arrest in Vancouver for nearly three years while fighting a U.S. extradition request on charges of violating financial sanctions. China’s government jailed the Canadians and charged them with spying shortly after her detention.
Psaki said Monday “there is no link” between the cases. “We have an independent Justice Department, we can’t determine how the Chinese or others manage their business over there, it’s a little bit different,” Psaki said.
She said the U.S. would not refer to the episode as a prisoner swap and dismissed questions about whether China would be encouraged to seize foreign hostages in any future legal disputes. President Joe Biden had raised Spavor and Kovrig’s cases directly with President Xi Jinping in their most recent call, and Xi had raised Meng’s case, she said.
“We’re going to continue to hold the PRC to account for its unfair economic practices, its coercive actions around the world and its human rights abuses,” she said. “So there is absolutely zero impact, no one should read it as an impact on our substantive policy. This is a legal matter and a legal decision.”
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