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It would be “great for Canada” if the US canceled its request for the extradition of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, Canadian Ambassador to China John McCallum said on Friday.
Canada has been embroiled in a diplomatic row with China since it arrested Meng on December 1 while she was changing planes at Vancouver International Airport. She was being sought by the United States, which claims she committed fraud by lying to bankers about allegedly violating US sanctions on Iran.
The Huawei CFO, who is also the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, is under house detention in Vancouver pending a ruling on the extradition request.
McCallum’s remarks to The Vancouver Star came one day after he walked back comments that Meng had a “strong case” against extradition to the US.
“From Canada’s point of view, if [the US] drops the extradition request, that would be great for Canada,” he told the Star.
McCallum on Tuesday had briefed lawmakers on the plight of two Canadians detained in China and a third placed on death row in what are widely seen as retaliatory moves by Beijing for Meng’s arrest.
After that briefing he told Chinese-language media in Markham, Ontario, that he believed the US extradition request was seriously flawed.
He cited political comments on the case by US President Donald Trump, the “extraterritorial aspect” of Meng’s case, and the fact that Canada did not sign on to the Iran sanctions that Washington wants her extradited for.
McCallum’s remarks were immediately panned by opposition parties and others for seeming to undercut the strict hands-off approach to judicial matters touted by the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
– with reporting by Agence France-Presse