In its indictment of Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou, the US accuses the company of engaging in trade-secret theft and obstructing justice. The money laundering charges, however, are narrower than the wider trade war.
As for Ms. Meng’s arrest, it has raised the specter of “hostage diplomacy” by China – a highly unusual move that could freeze trade talks and further damage U.S.-China relations.
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“The implication is very dangerous because it would throw into question what we’re talking about when we talk about a trade war,” said Ambassador Tina Kaidanow, U.S. Trade Representative. “It would appear to be an effort to put the US government in the middle of it. And it certainly doesn’t fly with how any country goes about negotiations with the United States.”
The move follows weeks of public sparring between US President Donald Trump and China President Xi Jinping. And it has raised the specter of a Canadian journalist being taken into custody by Chinese authorities – a precursor to President Xi’s visit to the US in early September.
“You have to worry,” said former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, “that China is taking this to ground in preparation for the big leadership get-together that’s taking place over the course of the year-end holidays.”