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Trade War

US to let the law take its course for Huawei official, Pompeo says

Secretary of state walks back Trump's threat to use case for trade deal

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a Dec. 14 news conference. U.S. President Donald Trump sees arrested Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou as a potential card in trade talks with China.   © Kyodo

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government is "respecting the rule of law" with regard to an arrested Huawei Technologies executive, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday, days after President Donald Trump held out the possibility of intervening.

"We'll continue to engage through legal processes to get the just outcome," Pompeo said at a news conference after a "two plus two" meeting here between American and Canadian foreign affairs and defense chiefs.

He also said the U.S. is "engaged in an extradition process" for Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, arrested in Canada this month at American authorities' request on suspicion of misleading banks to bypass U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Asked by Reuters on Tuesday about intervening in the case, Trump had said: "Whatever's good for this country, I would do. If I think it's good for the country, if I think it's good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made -- which is a very important thing -- what's good for national security -- I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary."

At Friday's news conference, Pompeo called China's detention of two Canadians "unlawful" and "unacceptable" before calling on "all nations of the world to treat other citizens properly."

"We all agree that the most important thing we can do is to uphold the rule of law, ensure that Ms. Meng's right to due process is respected, and that the current judicial process in Canada remains apolitical," Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said.

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