US President Donald Trump said that he would intervene in the arrest of Chinese Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou if that would be to the benefit of US interest, in an interview with Reuters on December 11th.
At the request of U.S. authorities, Huawei Technologies Co. executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver on charges of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. She was arrested on the same day Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met and announced a 90-day truce in the US-China trade war – December 1st.
When he was asked whether he would intervene in the case, he claimed that he is ready to do anything, as long as it’s to the benefit of the US.
“Whatever’s good for this country, I would do. 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.”
When he was asked whether the US would extradite the Chinese executive, Trump had the following to say:
“Well I think I’d want to speak to China. We’ve spoken to the Justice Department. You know – it wasn’t good what happened with the company, you understand that, in terms of what they did. And this has been a big problem that we’ve had in so many different ways with so many companies from China and from other places. So I want to see what China requests. So far they have not made that request.”
Meng Wanzhou faces charges regarding her alleged misleading of multinational banks regarding Huawei’s control of a company operating in Iran, putting the banks at risk of violating sanctions on Iran. If she is extradited to the US, she would face charges of conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions.
Essentially, she would not be extradited immediately, since there is a possibility for her to be used as a “bargaining chip.” This is an example of “ISIS-style,” “blackmail” policy, which apparently the US is willing to resign to. It would be interesting to see what would happen if China detains a high-profile US citizen and then wants to strike a deal with the US.
Sharmine Narwani, a Middle East analyst and commentator expressed her concern regarding the US policy in this matter.
Trump is holding a Chinese female executive hostage in order to negotiate a deal.
Well, he's certainly taught the world an important lesson today: Ivanka Trump, in a holding cell somewhere, is always going to be one hell of a counter-offer. https://t.co/JJn811NZPk
— Sharmine Narwani (@snarwani) December 12, 2018
In the past, Trump has intervened on behalf of a Chinese company. Earlier in 2018, he revisited penalties for Chinese company ZTE Corp for lying to the US after the company pleaded guilty to violating US sanctions on Iran. The reason was that the telecom maker is a big buyer for US suppliers.
He said that she could potentially be released.
“Well, it’s possible that a lot of different things could happen. It’s also possible it will be a part of negotiations. But we’ll speak to the Justice Department, we’ll speak to them, we’ll get a lot of people involved,” he said.
Essentially, plainly saying that she would, in fact, be a bargaining chip.
Trump also expressed his optimism that he could strike a deal with Xi to resolve the trade war, which has caused US stock market declines and has raised concerns of economic turmoil in 2019. He praised that progress had been made on that “front.” Trump also said that trade talks with Beijing are on-going by telephone.
“They’re buying tremendous amounts of soybeans. They’re back in the market … I just heard today that they’re buying tremendous amounts of soybeans. They are starting, just starting now. We’ll probably have another meeting. And maybe a meeting of the top people on both sides. If it’s necessary, I’ll have another meeting with President Xi, who I like a lot and get along with very well.”
Commodity traders in Chicago, however, said they have seen no evidence of a resumption of soybean purchases by China.