Foreign Affairs Minister says Canada-China relations important to maintain post Huawei CFO arrest

Canada’s foreign affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters that the Canada-China relationship is one that is important to “maintain.”

Speaking to reporters in the National Press Theatre, Freeland told reporters on December 12th, 2018 that the relationship is “such a complex and important relationship.”

“Such as the one that exists between the two of us, there are always moments that are more difficult than others. However, for Canada it is important to try and maintain relations with China,” Freeland said.

On December 11th, Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested last week in Vancouver, was granted bail on charges related to fraud.

As part of the ruling, Wanzhou must pay $10 million, with $7 million coming from cash deposits and the remaining $3 million coming from five or more sureties — people who commit to ensuring she doesn’t flee and abides by all terms of the bail.

Further, Wanzhou will be subject to an 11pm to 6am curfew wherein she must live in her Vancouver home and remain in certain Vancouver areas. During this time, she will be required to wear a GPS-tracking ankle bracelet and pay for all costs associated with security. She must also surrender her passports, of which she has had seven in 11 years, and consent to checks from RCMP and other peace officers.

Meng is currently facing extradition to the United States. U.S. law enforcement agencies allege Meng tried to evade U.S. trade embargoes against Iran. During the proceedings, the Crown lawyer noted that the U.S.’ 60-day-period to file a formal extradition request will end on January 8th, 2019.

After that time, Wanzhou must be released, according to the judge. The judge said that Wanzhou must also return to court on Wednesday, February 6th, 2019 to fix a further date in these proceedings. Meng is a vice-chair on Huawei’s board of directors and the daughter of the China-based company’s founder Ren Zhengfei.

Freeland reiterated with Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier in the day: “What we are responsible for is not the behaviour of other countries, what we are responsible for is how we behave.”

As of December 11th, 2018, Canada put out a travel advisory to Canadians travelling to China.

Freeland maintained her comments in saying that the current advice “urges Canadians to exercise a high degree of caution and that is something Canadians should take seriously.”

“This has been our advice for some time. Canadians considering travel to China should look at our website. We are constantly evaluating and monitoring the situation.”

She told reporters that she spoke with Mike Pompeo, secretary of state of the United States, several days ago and told him that Canada honours its treaty commitments. 

“Ms. Meng’s treatment was entirely up to this point and up to this point had been entirely a matter of due process and that she would be treated fairly and impartially in Canadian courts,” Freeland said.