Huawei CFO gets bail; China detains ex-Canadian diplomat

1 / 2
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's chief financial officer (CFO), is seen in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters December 6, 2018. (REUTERS)
2 / 2
In this image made from a video taken on March 28, 2018, Michael Kovrig, an adviser with the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based non-governmental organization, speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. (AP)
Updated 12 December 2018
0

Huawei CFO gets bail; China detains ex-Canadian diplomat

  • A Canadian citizen has been detained in China, Canada said on Tuesday

VANCOUVER, British Columbia: A Canadian court granted bail on Tuesday to a top Chinese executive arrested at the United States’ request in a case that has set off a diplomatic furor among the three countries and complicated high-stakes US-China trade talks.
Hours before the bail hearing in Vancouver, China detained a former Canadian diplomat in Beijing in apparent retaliation for the Dec. 1 arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and daughter of the company’s founder.
After three days of hearings, a British Columbia justice granted bail of $10 million Canadian ($7.5 million) to Meng, but required her to wear an ankle bracelet, surrender her passports, stay in Vancouver and its suburbs and confine herself to one of her two Vancouver homes from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
The decision was met with applause in the packed courtroom, where members of Vancouver’s Chinese community had turned out to show support for Meng.
Amid rising tension between China and Canada, Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale confirmed Tuesday that a former Canadian diplomat had been detained in Beijing. The detention came after China warned Canada of consequences for Meng’s arrest.
“We’re deeply concerned,” Goodale said. “A Canadian is obviously in difficulty in China. ... We are sparing no effort to do everything we possibly can to look after his safety.”
Michael Kovrig, who previously worked as a diplomat in China and elsewhere, was taken into custody by the Beijing Bureau of Chinese State Security on Monday night during one of his regular visits to Beijing, said the International Crisis Group, for which Kovrig works as North East Asia adviser. His employer said it had received no information about him since his detention.
Canada had been bracing for retaliation for Meng’ arrest. The Canadian province of British Columbia canceled a trade mission to China amid fears China could detain Canadians to put pressure on Ottawa over Meng’s detention.
 “In China there is no coincidence,” Guy Saint-Jacques, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said of Kovrig’s detention. “Unfortunately Canada is caught in the middle of this dispute between the USand China. Because China cannot kick the US they turn to the next target.”
Earlier in the day, China vowed to “spare no effort” to protect against “any bullying that infringes the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi didn’t mention Meng by name. But ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Wang was referring to cases of all Chinese abroad, including Meng’s.
Washington accuses Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment to Iran in violation of US sanctions. It says Meng and Huawei misled banks about the company’s business dealings in Iran.
On Tuesday, US State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters in Washington “the charges against Meng pertain to alleged lies to United States financial institutions” about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran.
“It is clear from the filings that were unsealed in Canada, Meng and others are alleged to have put financial institutions at risk of criminal and civil liability in the United States by deceiving those institutions as to the nature and extent of Huawei’s business in Iran,” Palladino said.
Meng has denied the US allegations through her lawyer in court, promising to fight them if she is extradited to face charges in the United States.
“We have every confidence that the Canadian and US legal systems will reach a just conclusion in the following proceedings,” Huawei said in a statement.
“As we have stressed all along, Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries and regions where we operate, including export control and sanction laws of the UN, US, and EU. We look forward to a timely resolution to this matter.”
Huawei, the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and Internet companies, is the target of US security concerns. Washington has pressured other countries to limit use of its technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft of information.
The US and China have tried to keep Meng’s case separate from their wider trade dispute and suggested Tuesday that talks to resolve their differences may resume.
But President Donald Trump undercut efforts to distinguish between trade talks and the Huawei case. In an interview with Reuters, he said Tuesday that he would consider intervening in the Justice Department’s case against Meng if it would be in the interest of US national security or help forge a trade deal with Beijing.
Roland Paris, a former foreign policy adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, called Trump’s comments troubling.
“Canada is acting in good faith, according to the law, in response to a US extradition request,” Paris tweeted.
The Chinese government said its economy czar had discussed plans with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer for talks aimed at settling the two countries’ differences. Lighthizer’s office confirmed he had spoken by phone with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.
The news that trade negotiations may resume lifted stock markets around the world.
The United States has slapped tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports in response to complaints Beijing steals American technology and forces US companies to turn over trade secrets.
Tariffs on $200 billion of those imports were scheduled to rise from 10 percent to 25 percent on Jan. 1. But Trump agreed to postpone those by 90 days while the two sides negotiate.


South Europe summit calls for ‘fair’ migrant distribution

(From L) Cyprus' President Nicos Anastasiades, Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, French President Emmanuel Macron, Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa and Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras pose for a family photo outside the Auberge de Castille in Valletta, after the first 'Southern EU Countries Summit' on June 14, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 13 min 17 sec ago
0

South Europe summit calls for ‘fair’ migrant distribution

  • The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Friday that the vessel’s owners have since been providing those aboard with food and water

VALLETTA/MALTA, TUNIS: Southern European leaders called for a fair distribution of migrants arriving from across the Mediterranean as the latest NGO boat carrying rescued families was denied a safe port by Italy.
The leaders of Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain said on Friday the EU should “guarantee effective implementation of the principle of solidarity and fair burden-sharing between member states.”
A joint declaration at the end of the summit in Valletta also said “efforts to break the smugglers’ business model need to be further enhanced, with the aim to also prevent tragic loss of life.”
A day earlier, dozens of migrants rescued in international waters off Tunisia are still stranded 15 days later as authorities refuse to allow the boat carrying them to access a nearby port, the UN said late Friday.
Egyptian tugboat Maridive 601 rescued 75 migrants off the southern Tunisian coast in late May after they embarked from Libya, a key launchpad for sub-Saharan Africans making dangerous bids to reach Europe by sea.
The vessel has been anchored since May 31 off the southern port of Zarzis, where authorities have refused to allow the vessel to dock despite an appeal by the boat’s captain.
The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Friday that the vessel’s owners have since been providing those aboard with food and water.
Tunisian officials contacted by AFP refused to comment on the situation, although an Interior Ministry official said last week, on condition of anonymity, that “the migrants want to be welcomed by a European country.”
Humanitarian groups say Tunisia, which has already received several hundred migrants since the start of the year, is reluctant to take on more new arrivals, demanding that they agree to be repatriated before being allowed to enter Tunisian territory.
The IOM said at least 32 unaccompanied minors were on the boat, and offered to help Tunisia host the migrants.

FASTFACT

Dozens of migrants rescued in international waters off Tunisia are still stranded 15 days later.

It added that 10 of those aboard the boat — nine Egyptians and a Moroccan — had expressed interested in returning home.
“We ask for the reinstatement of mechanisms to care for migrants rescued at sea” to prevent similar incidents in the future, said IOM’s Tunisia head Lorena Lando.
In 2018, Tunisian authorities prevented more than 11,400 irregular crossings of the Mediterranean, Interior Minister Hichem Fourati told parliament on Friday.
He said they had also arrested hundreds of people suspected of involvement in people-trafficking.
So far this year, Tunisian forces have intercepted some 428 clandestine migrants, he added.

The wording appeared to target the boats of non-governmental organizations that rescue migrants from the Mediterranean, but which are accused by far-right politicians such as Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini of encouraging human trafficking.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at the summit voiced “frustration” that the EU “talks about solidarity without applying it.”
The German-operated Sea Watch 3 NGO rescue vessel is currently off Italy’s southern Lampedusa island with 53 migrants on board who were rescued off the coast of Libya and since denied entry to Italian ports.
Salvini says that the rescue boats prevent the Libyan coast guard from picking up the migrants and returning them to Libya.
“All vessels operating in the Mediterranean must respect the applicable international laws and not obstruct operations of the Libyan Coast Guard,” the summit statement said.
Salvini, who is also deputy prime minister and leads the powerful right-wing League party in the coalition, has issued a decree ordering law enforcement authorities to take all necessary measures to prevent the entry into or transit through Italian waters of such ships.
Salvini has seen his popularity soar in the last year with a hard line against migrants which has included closing ports to rescue vessels.
Sea Watch International on Friday tweeted that its vessel was “still waiting for a port of safety 16 miles off Lampedusa,” calling for people to sign a petition for the migrants to be taken in by German cities.
Salvini said the vessel was now “wandering around the Mediterranean forcing women, men and children into unnecessary suffering.”
Italy and Malta, the closest countries to North Africa, said ahead of the summit that more should be done to stop migrants leaving, including by bolstering the training and resources of the Libyan coast guard.
Rome and Valletta insist on there being a fair distribution of migrants to other EU countries, while countries such as France say migrants should disembark at the closest port and then be voluntarily redistributed around Europe.
More than 12,000 people have died since 2014 trying to flee Libya to Europe by what the UN refugee agency calls the “world’s deadliest sea crossing.”
The seven nations meeting in Malta on Friday represent close to 40 percent of the EU’s population and gross domestic product and half of its coastline, Malta said.