The detention of Huawei senior executive Meng Wanzhou in Canada has prompted an immediate retaliation from Beijing. CCTV senior editor and political analyst Tom McGregor explained why China cracked down on Ottawa instead of Washington, which had issued the warrant to arrest Meng.
Beijing and Ottawa found themselves entangled in a diplomatic crisis following the arrest of Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou over the alleged violations of anti-Iranian sanctions in Vancouver on 1 December at the request of US law enforcement officials
It was reported on 20 December that a third Canadian citizen, Sarah McIver, was detained in China. Earlier, Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat now working as senior adviser for North East Asia at the Crisis Group non-profit organisation, and Michael Spavor, a businessman, were arrested in the People’s Republic.
It is believed that Kovrig and Spavor have fallen prey to the Sino-Canadian spat over Meng’s detention. As for McIver, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asserted to the press that her arrest had not been connected to the Huawei CFO’s case.
However, the question arises as to why China has decided to retaliate against Canada, although Ottawa is only playing the role of a “US proxy” in this case. Furthermore, according to Donald Trump, Sino-American trade negotiations are going on with Beijing willing “to make a big and very comprehensive deal”.
Tom McGregor, a Beijing-based political analyst, senior editor and commentator for China’s national TV broadcaster CCTV stated:
“Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau screwed up big time”, McGregor told Sputnik. “And why did he allow for US Department of Justice (DOJ) to accept Meng’s request for extradition over allegations that she and her company, Huawei had not followed the law on US sanctions imposed on the Iranian government? How strange that Trudeau, who claimed to oppose sanctions against Tehran, would permit Canadian police to take Meng into custody on account of that“.
The political analyst quoted the Canadian PM, who stated on 9 May 2018, following Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that “for Canada’s purpose, we make our decisions around foreign policy here in Ottawa, not in Washington, not elsewhere“.
“So what exactly is Trudeau trying to tell ‘peoplekind’ here? Is Trudeau responding to his concerns about ‘fear-mongering’ again? But when it came time for Trudeau to demonstrate bravery and to reaffirm Ottawa’s independence from the influence of Washington’s foreign policy, he failed to deliver on that. He was no ‘profile in courage’ on this occasion“, McGregor underscored.
According to the commentator, it appears that Beijing did not intend to tolerate Trudeau’s irresponsible approach to Sino-Canadian affairs, “which had sparked an international crisis of mammoth proportions”.
Referring to the Canadian detainees, McGregor singled out Michael Kovrig who is employed by the Crisis Group, “long recognised as an anti-China NGO with billionaire hedge fund investor George Soros sitting on its board of trustees“.
“So, it seemed as a foregone conclusion that if there ever be a day when China-Canada ties fall apart, Chinese police officers were waiting in anxious anticipation to take Kovrig into custody due to his questionable background of engaging in anti-China activities in the country“, McGregor opined.
As for Spavor — “the Canadian businessman with close ties to the North Korean Kim Jong-un regime” — the Beijing-based analyst is “not sure what had happened to make Beijing officials more suspicious of him”.
Trump Has Nothing to Do With Meng’s Arrest
McGregor reiterated his assumption that Donald Trump has nothing to do with Meng’s arrest. It was reported that the Huawei senior executive faced charges from the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
“Beijing sees that this was a foolish Deep State stunt supported by Trudeau and hence does not intend to respond in a retaliatory measure against Trump when he’s not at fault for what had happened“, the commentator suggested. “This is an issue of fairness. Trudeau is to blame for the incident and must accept the consequences over his prior actions“.
It seems rather symbolic that Meng was detained the same night when President Xi Jinping and his American counterpart Donald Trump agreed on a trade truce at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. However, it later turned out that the warrant had been issued by the New York Court on 22 August 2018.
It does not appear that Beijing is going to disrupt the negotiation process with Washington. On Thursday, China’s state-run Sinograin signalled that it had recently bought over 1.5 million tonnes of US soybeans from the United States.
Five Eyes’ Huawei Plot: ‘Good Luck Trying to Stop the Rise of China’
However, one cannot deny the US determination to contain China’s technological rise in light of a recent Wall Street Journal’s report that revealed the intelligence chiefs of the so-called “Five Eyes” network conspired against Huawei, seeing it as a potential threat to the US and its Western allies.
Still, McGregor doesn’t believe this is the case: “Good luck trying to stop the rise of China, need I say more?” the analyst said. “But let’s wait and see if China does indeed narrow US-China trade imbalances during the 90-day trade truce, before it’s time for me to analyze what lies ahead for Trump-Xi trade talks starting in March 2019“.