The province is delaying the Chinese portion of its Forestry Asia Trade Mission after a top executive of the country’s Chinese tech giant Huawei was detained in Vancouver.
In a Sunday morning statement, Jobs, Trade and Technology Minister Bruce Ralston said the province would be suspending the China leg of its mission due to an “international judicial process underway relating to a senior official at Huawei Technologies Co.”
Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of U.S. officials while transferring flights in Vancouver on Dec. 1.
She is reportedly suspected of trying to evade U.S. trade curbs on Iran.
In his statement, Ralston said that B.C. “values its strong trade relationship with China, one based on mutual respect and close economic and cultural ties that have been established over many decades.”
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng called Meng’s detention a “severe violation” of her “legitimate rights and interests.”
“Such a move ignores the law and is unreasonable, unconscionable, and vile in nature,” Le said in the statement.
“China strongly urges the Canadian side to immediately release the detained Huawei executive … or face grave consequences that the Canadian side should be held accountable for,” Le said.
The forestry trade mission is now scheduled to return to B.C. on Dec. 11, in lieu of heading to China.
– with files from The Canadian Press