Streak of detentions as US-China trade War intensifies
Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer and deputy chairwoman of Huawei Technologies is now out on bail in Vancouver, awaiting her trial in a Canadian court following a request for extradition from the United States. Recently, Beijing has also detained a former Canadian diplomat, Michael Korvig in retaliation over Meng’s arrest and detention.
In a more severe act of retribution, China has also questioned Michael Spavor, a Canadian businessman with alleged links to North Korea. A more severe charge of harming China’s state security has been levelled against him.
In the midst of the continuing trade war, just as the world contemplates its consequences, US President Donald Trump told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday that he will intervene in the US Department of Justice probe against Meng if it serves national security interests or helps close a trade deal with China.
“If I think it’s good for the country, if I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made – which is a very important thing – what’s good for national security – I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary,” Trump was quoted as saying.
The recent remarks by the US President suggest that Meng, also daughter of the founder of Huawei Technologies, is merely being used as a pawn in the bigger US-China trade war. Meng may be used as a pawn for the upcoming trade talks between Washington and Beijing. Similarly, by extension, Kovrig is a potential bargaining chip for China amid its ongoing power struggle with the West, led by the US.
However, according to Canadian courts, Meng may be released if the US authorities fail to file for an extradition request by Jan. 8, 2019.
President Trump has been quiet vocal over how exactly he would intervene in Meng’s case, which raises the possibility that the latter could face even heavier criminal charges after the intervention.
President Trump would seek to define national interests and his intervention in the case would depend on the degree to which Beijing is prepared to give trade concessions to the former. Regardless, the arrest of individuals by both countries is intended to serve as a bargaining chip, when talks kick off between Washington and Beijing over a sustainable trade deal to diffuse the ongoing US-China Trade War.
As the diplomatic crisis continues, it is hoped that the situation will be diffused before both countries issue travel advisories for their citizens, preventing them to travel and work anywhere in China or the US, depending on one’s nationality.
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