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China demands Canada release Huawei executive

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China demands Canada release Huawei executive

BEIJING (AP) — China on Thursday demanded Canada release a Huawei Technologies executive who was arrested in a case that adds to technology tensions with Washington and threatens to complicate trade talks.

Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, faces possible extradition to the United States, according to Canadian authorities. The Globe and Mail newspaper, citing law enforcement sources, said she is suspected of trying to evade U.S. trade curbs on Iran.

The timing is awkward following the announcement of a U.S.-Chinese cease-fire in a tariff war over Beijing’s technology policy. Meng was detained in Vancouver on Saturday, the day Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping met in Argentina and announced their deal.

Stock markets tumbled on the news, fearing renewed U.S.-Chinese tensions that threaten global economic growth. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 2.5 percent and the DAX in Germany sank 1.8 percent.

A Chinese government statement said Meng broke no U.S. or Canadian laws and demanded Canada “immediately correct the mistake” and release her.

Beijing asked Washington and Ottawa to explain the reason for Meng’s arrest, said a foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang. He said arresting her without that violated her human rights.

But the Ministry of Commerce signaled Beijing wants to avoid disrupting progress toward settling a dispute with Washington over technology policy that has led them to raise tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s goods.

China is confident they can reach a trade deal during the 90 days that Trump agreed to suspend U.S. tariff hikes, said a ministry spokesman, Gao Feng.

Huawei Technologies Ltd., the biggest global supplier of network gear used by phone and internet companies, has been the target of deepening U.S. security concerns. Under Trump and his predecessor, Barack Obama, Washington has pressured European countries and other allies to limit use of its technology.

The United States sees Huawei and smaller Chinese tech suppliers as possible fronts for spying and as commercial competitors. The Trump administration says they benefit from improper subsidies and market barriers.

Trump’s tariff hikes on Chinese imports stemmed from complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. But American officials also worry more broadly that Chinese plans for state-led creation of Chinese champions in robotics, artificial intelligence and other fields might erode U.S. industrial leadership.

“The United States is stepping up containment of China in all respects,” said Zhu Feng, an international relations expert at Nanjing University. He said targeting Huawei, one of its most successful companies, “will trigger anti-U.S. sentiment.”

“The incident could turn out to be a breaking point,” Zhu said.

Last month, New Zealand blocked a mobile phone company from using Huawei equipment, saying it posed a “significant network security risk.” The company was banned in August from working on Australia’s fifth-generation network.

On Wednesday, British phone carrier BT said it was removing Huawei equipment from the core of its mobile phone networks. It said Huawei still is a supplier of other equipment and a “valued innovation partner.”

The Wall Street Journal reported this year U.S. authorities are investigating whether Huawei violated sanctions on Iran. The Chinese government appealed to Washington to avoid any steps that might damage business confidence.

Huawei’s biggest Chinese rival, ZTE Corp., was nearly driven out of business this year when Washington barred it from buying U.S. technology over exports to North Korea and Iran. Trump restored access after ZTE agreed to pay a $1 billion fine, replace its executive team and embed a U.S.-chosen compliance team in the company.

Huawei is regarded as far stronger commercially than ZTE. Based in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, Huawei has the biggest research and development budget of any Chinese company and a vast portfolio of patents, making it less dependent on American suppliers.

Its growing smartphone brand is among the top three global suppliers behind Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc. by number of handsets sold.

Meng was changing flights in Canada when she was detained “on behalf of the United States of America” to face unspecified charges in New York, according to a Huawei statement.

“The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng,” the statement said.

A U.S. Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.

Huawei said it complies with all laws and rules where it operates, including export controls and sanctions of the United Nations, the United States and European Union.

Meng’s arrest also threatened to inflame disagreements over Iran and Trump’s decision to break with other governments and re-impose sanctions over the country’s nuclear development.

Geng, the foreign ministry spokesman, said China objects to unilateral sanctions outside the United Nations. China has said it will continue to do business with Iran despite the possible threat of U.S. penalties.

Meng is a prominent member of China’s business world as deputy chairman of Huawei’s board and the daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei, a former Chinese military engineer.

Despite that, her arrest is unlikely to derail trade talks, said Willy Lam, a politics specialist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“I think too much is at stake for Xi Jinping. He desperately wants a settlement,” said Lam.

Longer term, however, the case will reinforce official Chinese urgency about developing domestic technology suppliers to reduce reliance on the United States, said Lam.

Trump has “pulled out all the stops” to hamper Chinese ambitions to challenge the United States as a technology leader, Lam said. That includes imposing limits on visas for Chinese students to study science and technology.

“If the Chinese need further convincing, this case would show them beyond doubt Trump’s commitment,” said Lam.

David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said U.S. and Canadian business executives could face reprisals in China.

“That’s something we should be watching out for. It’s a possibility. China plays rough,” Mulroney said. “It’s a prominent member of their society and it’s a company that really embodies China’s quest for global recognition as a technology power.”

___

Gillies reported from Toronto. AP researcher Yu Bing in Beijing contributed.

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Foreign Affairs

Thanks to Trump, Americans still have free speech

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Thanks to Trump Americans still have free speech

In spite of what mainstream media says, Trump’s rejection of the “Christchurch Call” may spare Americans from the Orwellian censorship other Western countries have pledged their allegiance to

Using tragedies to push political agendas is nothing new.

While people are still reeling from some disaster, before they are thinking rationally again is the best time for the shrewd-minded to take advantage of the situation. These cunning individuals cite prevention of another catastrophe in order to pressure those soft hearts – yet to come down from the shock of recent horrific events – into taking rash, impulsive, immediate action.

This is exactly what happened on May 15, when several nations and big tech companies, such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon, and Microsoft, signed a pledge written up in response to the Christchurch mosque massacre which was live-streamed by the shooter on Facebook.

The “Christchurch Call To Action,” which can be read in its entirety here, outlined efforts to be taken in order “to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online,” including “strengthening the resilience and inclusiveness of our societies” and encouraging media to “apply ethical standards when depicting terrorist events online.”

Among the countries who signed the call were Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, the European Commission, Japan, Senegal, Jordan, India, and Indonesia.

But not America.

President Trump saw through the guise of humanitarianism that the Christchurch Call hid behind and refused to get on board.

In a statement regarding the president’s decision not to sign the Call, the White House claimed,

”We continue to be proactive in our efforts to counter terrorist content online while also continuing to respect freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Further, we maintain that the best tool to defeat terrorist speech is productive speech, and thus we emphasize the importance of promoting credible, alternative narratives as the primary means by which we can defeat terrorist messaging.”

Unsurprisingly, Trump has received a lot of backlash from mainstream media accusing him of being a “white supremacist bigot” contributing to “hate” for not signing the Call, but in reality, Trump was wise to stand against the crowd on this one.

The Christchurch Call is framed as a means for combating terrorism, but the vague terms sprinkled throughout the reactionary document like “inclusiveness” and “ethical standards” leave too much open to interpretation. Such loosely defined words make plenty of room for government censorship of any dissenting opinions on the Internet.

Other western countries are already sliding down the slippery slope towards an Orwellian future.

Just after the Christchurch shooting, New Zealand criminalized the video of the assailant’s livestream and his manifesto. Now, several citizens of New Zealand have been arrested and are facing up to 14 years of imprisonment just for sharing the video.

Some New Zealanders have also reported receiving visits from local police, who asked questions regarding their political views, such as if they liked Trump or not.

In Scotland, a man was fined £800 for making this video in the spirit of comedy:

Several U.K. citizens have been arrested, fined, or had the police visit them for criticizing Islam on social media.

While Americans like Alex Jones have questionably been banned from platforms like Facebook and Youtube, this is the worst it gets in the United States.

In America, government involvement in silencing online political dissidents through arrests and fines is unheard of. In declining to sign the Christchurch Call, Trump made a statement displaying his commitment to preserving his people’s right to voice their opinions, no matter how controversial.

While the Trump administration still stands, America will remain the land of freedom of speech.

Sources

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Democrats

Trump hits Biden on China connections

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Trump hits Biden on China connections

One thing has been made clear by recent events as they pertain to China: They are dying for someone to beat President Trump next November. In many ways, they’re banking on it.

This should make every American, including Democrats, concerned because even more than Russia, China has the capabilities to get in and change the hearts and minds of Americans, hack the 2020 election, and set in motion events that will benefit them. We’re talking about a country with nearly unlimited resources when it comes to cyberwarfare and social engineering. If Russia was ever a real concern to Washington DC, China is the true 800-lb gorilla in the political influence room.

The President called out former Vice President Joe Biden for his and his family’s involvement in China. Speaking to Steve Hilton on the Fox News show, The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton, the President pointed to alarming facts about the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

The threat from China is far greater than that from Russia, both economically as well as geopolitically. They have been a stirring giant for years. For the 2020 election, their stirring may turn into game-changing action if we’re not watchful.

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Economic portion of Middle East peace plan to be unveiled June 25 in Bahrain

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Economic portion of Middle East peace plan to be unveiled June 25 in Bahrain

The long-anticipated “deal of the century” finally has an official date for a partial release. The economic portion, which will detail how Palestinians will be supported as well as how they can eventually support themselves, will be unveiled June 25, 2019, at the “Peace to Prosperity” economic forum in the Manama, Bahrain.

The plan, which has been brewing for over two years, is expected to trade land and economic considerations for peace and unity between Israel and a newly formed “New Palestine.” Earlier this month, an alleged leak of the highlights of the plan was leaked to Israeli press.

Opinion

We may be closer to actual peace in the Middle East than ever before. It may be a Pyrrhic victory for the administration and Israel if it’s successful; a two-state solution could mark the beginning of the end for the Jewish state as its enemies gain a nearer foothold where attacks can happen.

While the plan details are unknown, it must be assumed Israel wouldn’t risk it unless they were either coerced by the United States or if they were made to believe they could maintain security over the newly released lands on the West Bank.

But there’s a different specter that looms large over both Israel and a new Palestinian state. Iran and its proxies are bent on disrupting any peace plan that includes the continued existence of Israel, the dominance of Saudi Arabia in the region, or the influence of United States over the Middle East. They will do everything in their power to disrupt and subvert the peace plan efforts.

Quote

“We look forward to engaging with business and thought leaders from throughout the region and the world to build consensus around the best steps the international community can take to develop the foundation for a prosperous future.” – Jared Kushner

Final Thoughts

By releasing the economic portion first, the White House hopes to get support from the Arab world and Palestinians to pressure leadership into considering the plan. As of now, Palestinian leadership has preemptively rejected the plan.

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