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China demands Canada release executive of tech giant Huawei

AP  |  Beijing 

on Thursday demanded that release an of Chinese who was arrested in a case that compounds tensions with the U.S. and threatens to complicate trade talks.

Meng Wanzhou, of Technologies Ltd., faces possible extradition to the United States, according to Canadian authorities. newspaper, citing law enforcement sources, said she is suspected of trying to evade U.S. trade curbs on

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

The U.S. sees and smaller Chinese tech suppliers as possible fronts for spying and as commercial competitors. The says they benefit from improper subsidies and market barriers.

The timing of the arrest is awkward following the announcement of a U.S.-Chinese cease-fire in a trade war that has its roots in Beijing's policy. Meng was detained in on Saturday, the day Presidents and met in 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 sank 1.8 percent.

A statement said Meng broke no U.S. or Canadian laws and demanded "immediately correct the mistake" and release her.

asked and to explain the reason for Meng's arrest, said a spokesman, He said arresting her without that violated her human rights.

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

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,

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

"The is stepping up containment of in all respects," said Zhu Feng, an international relations expert at 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, blocked a mobile phone company from using Huawei equipment, saying it posed a "significant security risk." The company was banned in August from working on Australia's fifth-generation

On Wednesday, British BT said it was removing Huawei from the core of its It said Huawei still is a supplier of other and a "valued innovation partner." reported this year U.S. authorities are investigating whether Huawei violated sanctions on The 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 and Trump restored access after ZTE agreed to pay a $1 billion fine, replace its 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 brand is among the top three global suppliers behind and by number of handsets sold. Meng was changing flights in when she was detained "on behalf of the 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 declined to comment.

Huawei said it complies with all laws and rules where it operates, including export controls and sanctions of the U.N., the U.S. and

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 spokesman, said China objects to unilateral sanctions outside the 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 of Huawei's board and the daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei, a former Chinese

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, December 06 2018. 22:35 IST