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International relations

US will seek extradition of Huawei CFO from Canada

Meng Wanzhou's arrest has soured relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou arrives at a parole office in Vancouver on Jan. 22.   © The Canadian Press via AP

WASHINGTON/DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) -- The U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday it will pursue the extradition of the chief financial officer of China's Huawei Technologies, arrested in Canada in December.

The United States has accused Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou of misrepresenting the company's links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite U.S. sanctions. The arrest soured relations between Canada and China, with China subsequently detaining two Canadian citizens and sentencing a third to death.

The U.S. statement came a day after a report that Canada's ambassador to the United States said the Canadian government was told that Washington planned to proceed.

"We will continue to pursue the extradition of defendant Ms. Meng Wanzhou, and will meet all deadlines set by the U.S./Canada Extradition Treaty," Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi said in a statement. "We greatly appreciate Canada's continuing support of our mutual efforts to enforce the rule of law."

Huawei Chairman Liang Hua told media at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier on Tuesday that the company was following the issue closely and wanted a quick resolution of the case, but had no direct contact with authorities.

The United States must file a formal request for extradition by Jan. 30. Once a formal request is received, a Canadian court has 30 days to determine whether there is enough evidence to support extradition and the Canadian minister of justice must issue a formal order.

Canada has not asked the United States to abandon its bid to have Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou extradited, Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

Huawei, the world's biggest producer of telecommunications equipment, faces U.S.-led allegations that its devices present a national security risk. Huawei says such concerns are unfounded.

In an article on Monday, a former head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service spy agency said Canada should ban Huawei from supplying equipment to its 5G networks. China's ambassador has threatened repercussions if Ottawa blocks Huawei.

"We've talked about it with Germany because we have a good relationship with Germany and our European partners generally, and Germany is having some deliberations of its own too," Freeland said on Tuesday, regarding possibly restricting Huawei's access to 5G networks.

The German government is debating whether to follow the United States and allies like Australia in restricting Huawei from accessing its next-generation mobile networks, business daily Handelsblatt reported last week.

Huawei will allow foreign officials to visit its labs, Liang said on Tuesday.

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