OTTAWA (Reuters) -- A top executive from Huawei Technologies being held in Canada can make "strong arguments" against extradition to the United States, in part due to remarks made by U.S. President Donald Trump, Canada's ambassador to China said.
Canadian envoy John McCallum's comments to Chinese-language media, which were made on Tuesday and broadcast on Wednesday, are the most explicit indication yet from a Canadian official that Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's chief financial officer, may not be sent to the United States.
McCallum also said Meng's extradition "would not be a happy outcome," a comment that could irritate the Trump administration, which has generally cool relations with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government.
Meng was detained on Dec. 1 in Vancouver, where she is currently under house arrest. She was arrested at the request of the United States over alleged violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Trump last month told Reuters he would intervene in the Meng case if it served national security interests or helped close a trade deal with China. Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland quickly warned Washington not to politicize extradition cases.
In a short clip shown by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, McCallum said Meng had "quite good arguments on her side," the first of which was "political involvement by comments from Donald Trump in her case."
McCallum, who spoke in English, also noted Canada has not applied the same sanctions against Iran as the United States.
"Canada does not sign onto these Iran sanctions. So I think she has some strong arguments she can make before a judge," he said. Freeland's office was not immediately available for comment.
The U.S. Justice Department has until Jan. 30 to file a formal extradition request and Canadian officials will then take up to a month to decide whether an extradition hearing is warranted. Legal experts say they expect a hearing to be held.
Meng's arrest has hurt Canada's relations with Beijing, which is demanding that she be freed.
China subsequently detained two Canadians last month, citing national security concerns, and a court later retried a Canadian who had already been jailed for drug smuggling and sentenced him to death.
McCallum said he saw three possible options for resolving the case. One would be Meng's extradition, which he said "would not be a happy outcome and that would take years" given that she could lodge legal appeals.
The second would be for the United States to make a deal with China whereby the extradition request would be dropped. The third would be Meng's release by a Canadian court on the grounds the U.S. request was not warranted.
McCallum, 68, a former Liberal cabinet minister, has made headlines in the past with offhand or colorful comments.
In 2003, while defense minister, he incorrectly blamed a major blackout in Canada and the United States on a fire in a U.S. nuclear power plant. The plant had not caught fire.
A year earlier, he admitted he had never heard of the 1942 raid on the French port of Dieppe, one of the most important moments in Canada's military history.