China warned Canada on Saturday that there would be severe consequences if it did not immediately release Huawei Technologies Co Ltdâs chief financial officer, calling the case âextremely nasty.â
Meng Wanzhou, Huaweiâs global chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada on Dec. 1 and faces extradition to the United States, which alleges that she covered up her companyâs links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions.
The executive is the daughter of the founder of Huawei.
If extradited to the United States, Meng would face charges of conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions, a Canadian court heard on Friday, with a maximum sentence of 30 years for each charge.
No decision was reached at the extradition hearing after nearly six hours of arguments and counter-arguments, and the hearing was adjourned until Monday.
In a short statement, Chinaâs Foreign Ministry said that Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng had issued the warning to release Meng to Canadaâs ambassador in Beijing, summoning him to lodge a âstrong protest.â
Adam Austen, a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, said Saturday there is ânothing to add beyond what the Minister said yesterdayâ.
Freeland told reporters on Friday that relationship with China is important and valued, and Canadaâs ambassador in Beijing has assured Chinese that consular access will be provided to Meng.
When asked about the possible Chinese backlash after the arrest of Huaweiâs CFO, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Friday that Canada has a very good relationship with Beijing.
Canadaâs arrest of Meng at the request of the United States while she was changing plane in Vancouver was a serious breach of her lawful rights, Le said.
The move âignored the law, was unreasonableâ and was in its very nature âextremely nasty,â he added.
âChina strongly urges the Canadian side to immediately release the detained person, and earnestly protect their lawful, legitimate rights, otherwise Canada must accept full responsibility for the serious consequences caused.â
The statement did not elaborate.
âThere will probably be a deep freeze with the Chinese in high-level visits and exchanges,â David Mulroney, former Canadian ambassador to China, said on Friday.
âThe ability to talk about free trade will be put in the ice box for a while. But weâre going to have to live with that. Thatâs the price of dealing with a country like China.â
Mengâs arrest was on the same day that US President Donald Trump met in Argentina with Chinaâs Xi Jinping to look for ways to resolve an escalating trade war between the worldâs two largest economies.
âWe are tracking the developments of this case and refer you to the filings in the Supreme Court of British Columbia,â said a US State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The news of Mengâs arrest has roiled stock markets and drawn condemnation from Chinese authorities, although Trump and his top economic advisers have played down its importance to trade talks after the two leaders agreed to a truce.
A Huawei spokesman said on Friday the company has âevery confidence that the Canadian and US legal systems will reach the right conclusion.â The company has said it complies with all applicable export control and sanctions laws and other regulations.