WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said in an interview that he may intervene in the US case against a top Huawei executive detained and bailed by Canada to further the trade relationship with China.
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, is wanted by US authorities for violating Iran sanctions but Beijing has expressed outrage over her detention in Vancouver, ratcheting up tensions in the US-China trade dispute.
Asked by Reuters if he would intervene with the Justice Department in her case, Trump was quoted as saying: “Whatever’s good for this country, I would do.”
“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 told the news agency.
Trump added that White House officials had spoken with the Justice Department and Chinese officials about the case but said he had not personally spoken with Chinese President Xi Jinping, or any other official.
A Canadian judge granted Meng bail earlier, in a case that has frayed relations between the North American allies and China.
Beijing has expressed outrage over her arrest at the request of Washington on December 1 and is holding a former Canadian diplomat in China, intensifying the row.
The list of strict conditions of her release pending the outcome of the extradition case is lengthy, and includes the surrender of her passports and electronic monitoring.
She was expected to be released shortly, and will be allowed to stay at a luxury home owned by her husband Liu Xiaozong in Vancouver.
Meng is accused of lying to bankers about the use of a covert subsidiary to sell to Iran in breach of sanctions. If convicted, she faces more than 30 years in prison.
The extradition process, scheduled to start on February 6, could take months, even years, if appeals are made in the case.
Earlier, the three-way diplomatic standoff over her arrest intensified with the news that China had detained Canadian national Michael Korvig.
The former diplomat once served in Beijing but was there on unpaid leave.