Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens as U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence makes his opening statement during a joint news conference in Ottawa, Thursday, May 30, 2019. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

China warns Canada of ‘consequences’ of helping US in Huawei case

BEIJING — China warned Canada on Friday that it needs to be aware of the consequences of aiding the U.S. in a case involving the Chinese tech giant Huawei that is believed to have sparked the detention of two Canadians in China.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang’s comments Friday came after U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

Both were arrested on Dec. 10 after Canada detained a Huawei executive wanted by the United States on fraud charges. While China has denied they were taken in retaliation, it has repeatedly implied that there is a strong connection between the cases.

Kovrig, a former diplomat and Asia expert at the International Crisis Group, and Spavor, a businessman, have been accused of colluding to steal state secrets. Canada has repeatedly urged their immediate release, calling their detention “arbitrary.” Neither has been permitted access to lawyers or family members.

“We hope that the Canadian side can have a clear understanding of the consequences of endangering itself for the gains of the U.S. and take immediate actions to correct its mistakes so as to spare itself the suffering from growing damage,” Geng said at a daily news briefing.

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the company’s founder, is accused of lying to banks about the company’s dealings with Iran in violation of U.S. trade sanctions. Her attorney has argued that comments by U.S. President Donald Trump suggest the case against her is politically motivated.

Washington has pressured other countries to limit use of Huawei’s technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft of information.

China and the U.S. are currently embroiled in a trade dispute that has beleaguered global financial markets.

Another Canadian held in China, Robert Schellenberg, was re-sentenced to death in a drug case following Meng’s detention. His case is currently under appeal.

By The Associated Press

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