United States asks Canada to turn over Huawei's CFO on alleged sanctions violations

Canadian ambassador: Huawei exec could avoid US extradition

Second, the ambassador argued there was "an extraterritorial aspect to her case" - without explaining how that makes Meng's case different from every other extradition request a foreign government makes of Canada.

"With respect to Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's Chief Financial Officer, Canada is conducting a fair, unbiased and transparent legal proceeding".

Speaking to the media here on Thursday, Canadian Ambassador to China John McCallum said: "I think she has quite good arguments on her side".

McCallum also raised the possibility that the US could strike a deal with China to drop the extradition. But Mr. McCallum also said one argument is that the case revolves around US sanctions against Iran that Canada did not sign onto - and that's incorrect.

Trump told Reuters last month he would intervene in Meng's case if it served USA national security interests or helped close a trade deal with China. She next appears in court on February 6. McCallum said the first date of her extradition hearing will be in March but the actual hearings will be some time after that.

Canada is now studying the security implications of 5G networks, but unlike some allies has not announced that equipment from China's Huawei Technologies will be excluded.

Since Meng's arrest, China has detained two Canadians - diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor - for national security investigations, prompting widespread calls for their release.

Canada's decision to arrest Meng set off a diplomatic feud between Canada and China.

"We have always highlighted that Canada is a country of the rule of law, and we will make sure that the rule of law is properly and fully followed", Trudeau told reporters in Saskatchewan. Huawei has close ties to China's military and is considered one of the country's most successful global enterprises, operating in the high-tech sphere where China hopes to establish dominance.

The Canadian government has persistently pushed back at Chinese pressure over the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou by insisting this is a rule-of-law country where the government can't influence judges.

Lastly, McCallum noted that Canada hasn't signed on to the US sanctions Meng is accused of trying to avoid.

On Tuesday, he had said she had "strong arguments" to avoid extradition, in part because US President Donald Trump had discussed the case.

The envoy, whose wife is of Chinese descent, said his family has made a good contribution to people-to-people ties between Canada and China.

The behind-the-scenes explanation is that Mr. McCallum wasn't supposed to say that - it wasn't in the script and won't be repeated.

FILE - Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, speaks during a news conference at U.N. headquarters during the General Assembly of the United Nations in Manhattan, New York, Sept. 26, 2018.

A statement from the US Department of Justice said that they will meet the deadline for filing a formal demand for Meng's extradition, which falls on January 30.

David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to the United States, expressed no interest in weighing the merits of Meng's case.

Extradition "would not be a happy outcome", McCallum added.

The Liberals may face a tough reelection fight this October against the opposition Conservative Party, which said McCallum's actions raised "questions of political interference".

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