BEIJING – China’s foreign ministry issued a statement Friday threatening Canada’s government against working with the Trump administration in its trade fight with Beijing.
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang threatened Canada with the “consequences” of such an alliance with the U.S. on trade issues Friday at a press conference, urging Canada’s government not to inflict “more harm” on itself, Reuters reported.
“We hope that the Canada will come to understand the full consequences of pulling chestnuts from the fire on behalf of the United States, and not inflict more harm on themselves,” Geng said, according to Reuters.
His comments come as Canada has been in discussions with the U.S. over the potential extradition of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s CFO, to the United State, where she faces fraud charges. Meng was arrested in December by Canadian authorities. She is facing bank and wire fraud charges in the U.S., and Huawei is facing charges of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Chinese authorities detained Canadian businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig in December, shortly after Canada arrested China-based Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou, on a U.S. warrant.
Trump has also floated using Huawei as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations between the U.S. and China.
Trade talks have stalled, leading Trump to hit China with a new round of massive tariffs.
The Trump administration has defended the actions, which critics have said will affect U.S. consumers, by arguing that it will add pressure to China at the negotiating and boost U.S. manufacturing jobs.
Meanwhile, Vice President Pence, who has also taken a hard line on China, discussed the detained Canadians with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa on Thursday, where they also talked about Huawei and China trade issues.
Kovrig and Spavor were formally charged with espionage this month. China has also cut off imports of key Canadian commodities in an effort to press it.
Canada has called the arrests arbitrary.
During his visit, Pence thanked Canada for standing up for the rule of law in detaining Meng.
While Canada says China has made no specific link between the detentions of the two men and Meng’s arrest, experts and former diplomats say they have no doubt it is using their cases to pressure Canada.