Written by Daisuke Wakabayashi and Alan Rappeport
A top executive and daughter of the founder of the Chinese tech giant Huawei was arrested on Saturday in Canada at the request of the United States, in a move likely to escalate tensions between the two countries at a delicate moment.
The arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer, unfolded on the same night that President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China dined together in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and agreed to a 90-day trade truce.
The two countries are set to begin tense negotiations in hopes of ending a trade war that has been pummeling both economies.
Those talks now face an even steeper challenge. The aim will be for the United States to ease its tariffs; in exchange, China will be expected to lower trade barriers and further open its markets to American businesses.
What’s more, Meng’s detention raises questions about the Trump administration’s overall China strategy.
Beijing is now likely to pressure Canada to release her and to press the United States to avoid a trial.
Meng, who joined Huawei in 1993 and is also a deputy chairwoman, was taken into custody in Vancouver on December 1, said Ian McLeod, a spokesman for Canada’s Justice Department.
He said she was “sought for extradition by the United States” but did not give a reason for what prompted the arrest. He added that a publication ban requested by Meng prevented him from providing any further details.
A bail hearing has been set for Friday.
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., linked the arrest to the American sanctions against Iran.
Sasse said China had been “working to creatively undermine our national security interests, and the United States and our allies can’t sit on the sidelines.”
He added that “Americans are grateful that our Canadian partners have arrested the chief financial officer of a giant Chinese telecom company for breaking U.S. sanctions against Iran.”
Huawei, China’s largest telecom equipment maker, has been under investigation into whether it had broken U.S. trade controls to countries including Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria.