The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China recently urged the Government of Canada to immediately release Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Sabrina Meng Wanzhou.
Speaking at the press conference on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that the difficulties in relations between the two countries currently do not stem from China. He also stressed that the relationship between Ottawa and Beijing will only improve when Canada releases Meng Wanzhou.
“We urge the new Canadian government to face up to China’s solemn position and concerns, release Ms. Meng Wanzhou at once, ensure her safe return to China and take concrete actions to move our relations back onto the right track,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a regular press conference.
Geng was responding to a question on whether China’s resumption of meat imports from Canada this week signaled a thawing of relations that chilled when Meng was detained in Vancouver in December 2018 on U.S. charges of bank fraud. The Huawei executive is also accused of misleading HSBC Holdings about her company’s dealings with Iran, which the U.S. has sanctioned. She is fighting possible extradition to the United States.
In December 2018, Canada detained Meng Wanzhou at the request of the United States. The U.S. has accused Huawei and Meng Wanzhou of conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran by secretly doing business with Tehran through a subsidiary. However, Huawei denies these allegations. The incident put diplomatic relations between Canada and China in a crisis situation.
Immediately after Meng was arrested by Ottawa, China detained two Canadians on charges of spying and restricted access to the Chinese market for a range of Canadian agricultural products.
In late June, China asked the Government of Canada to stop granting permits to export meat to China after it discovered the fake veterinary certificate. Not only did beef and pork be turned away by the Chinese market, but also Canada’s rapeseed and soybean seeds were drastically reduced in export volumes.
On November 5, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that China would resume Canadian beef and pork imports. Experts on China, including former Canadian Ambassador to China Guy Saint-Jacques, said that Beijing’s decision maybe because the country is facing an urgent need for pork due to the raging African swine cholera.