- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 9, 2018

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow hinted that the Trump administration could release a top Chinese tech executive as part of a broader negotiation with China, as officials in Beijing scrambled to balance their outrage over her arrest with their need to cool the trade war between the world’s two economic superpowers.

“I can’t guarantee anything,” Mr. Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday” when asked if releasing Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou could factor into a broader deal with China. “How this affects trade … I can’t sit here and be absolutely definitive.”

Ms. Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, was detained Dec. 1 during a layover at Vancouver International Airport at the request of the U.S. on suspicion of violating U.S. sanctions against trading with Iran. It was the same day that President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day cease-fire in the months-long trade war, which has seen both nations impose duties on billions of dollars of one another’s goods.

On Sunday, Chinese officials summoned the U.S. ambassador to Beijing to protest Ms. Meng’s detention.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng “lodged solemn representations and strong protests” with Ambassador Terry Branstad, calling the detention “extremely egregious” and demanding the U.S. vacate an order for the executive’s arrest.

Ms. Meng, who spent the weekend in jail, is scheduled to have a court hearing resume Monday.

In court Friday, Canadian prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley said that a warrant had been issued for her arrest in New York on Aug. 22.

Ms. Meng was arrested en route to Mexico from Hong Kong, was aware of the investigation and had been avoiding the U.S. for months, even though her teenage son attends school in Boston, Mr. Gibb-Carsley added.

The U.S. alleges that Huawei, the world’s second biggest smartphone manufacturer, used a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment in Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. Prosecutors also allege that Ms. Meng and Huawei misled American banks about their business dealings in Iran.

The firm has long been a source of worry for Washington and its allies, given its close ties to the Chinese government and China’s military leaders.

The stunning apprehension jolted world markets last week, as did questions what the 90-day trade war cease-fire covered.

On Sunday, while Mr. Kudlow explained that Ms. Meng’s arrest was in a “different channel” from the trade battle, he acknowledged that the two issues could somehow become mingled.

At the same time, Huawei tried to strike a composed tone, telling The Associated Press in an email that it had “every confidence that the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will reach the right conclusion.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, The People’s Daily, published an editorial blasting Canada for the arrest and warning its officials they could face “serious consequences” over the incident.

“Only by correcting its mistake, immediately ending its violation of a Chinese citizen’s lawful and legitimate rights and giving the Chinese people a due explanation, can Canada avoid paying a heavy price,” the paper cautioned.

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