Huawei CFO not bargaining chip: Pompeo

Canada has been seeking the backing of its global allies over the cases of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who are facing espionage charges.

By Author  |  Published: 23rd Aug 2019  10:48 am

Ottawa: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has denied that Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who Washington accuses of helping the Chinese tech giant dodge American sanctions on Iran, was being detained in Canada as a bargaining chip in the ongoing trade war.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, was taken into custody on December 1, 2018, on the behest of the US, during a layover in Vancouver en route from Hong Kong to Mexico. She is currently on bail, though subject to electronic monitoring while residing in one of the two homes she and her husband own in Vancouver.

When asked at a news conference in Ottawa on Thursday whether he saw Meng’s detention as something that could be used by the US to its advantage in trade talks, Pompeo replied, “no”, the BBC reported. Pompeo, who was in the Canadian capital to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, also offered assurances of President Donald Trump’s administration’s support for two Canadians detained in China.

Canada has been seeking the backing of its global allies over the cases of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who are facing espionage charges. The two men were taken into custody in China shortly after Canada arrested Meng. The men have been accused of harming national security.

Pompeo said the US would continue to raise the matter of the two Canadians’ “unlawful detention” with China “until such time as they’re home and returned to their families”. He also rejected any comparison of Meng’s case to Spavor and Kovrig’s. China wants “to talk about these two as if they’re equivalent, as if they’re morally similar, which they fundamentally are not”, Pompeo added.