China on Wednesday accused the United States of “bullying behaviour” after US authorities confirmed plans to seek the extradition of a top Chinese telecom executive detained in Canada.
The United States faces a January 30 deadline to file an extradition request for Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, whose arrest last month sparked diplomatic tensions.
“We will continue to pursue the extradition of defendant Ms Meng Wanzhou, and will meet all deadlines set by the US/Canada Extradition Treaty,” said US Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi on Tuesday.
Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, was arrested at Vancouver airport on December 1 at the request of the United States, which says she violated American sanctions on Iran.
She has since been freed on Can$10 million (US$7.5 million) bail and is awaiting a hearing on her extradition.
According to the agreement between the two countries, the United States has 60 days after an arrest made at its request in Canada to formalise an extradition request.
Once a request has been submitted, the Canadian justice ministry has 30 days to begin official extradition proceedings, though the process can take months or years.
China, which has defended both Huawei and Meng since the CFO’s arrest, criticised the US extradition request as without “legitimate reason” and “not in conformity with international law”.
“This is a type of technological bullying behaviour and everyone can clearly see the real purpose,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a regular press briefing.
The US “will stop at nothing to suppress Chinese high-tech enterprises and restrain China’s legitimate development rights”, she added.
Meng’s arrest has sparked an escalating diplomatic crisis between Ottawa and Beijing.
Two Canadians have since been detained in China on national security grounds, in what is thought to be retaliation for the arrest.
A Chinese court also this month sentenced a Canadian man to death for drug trafficking following a retrial, a drastic increase of his previous 15-year prison sentence.