Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet had an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss the escalating diplomatic crisis with China.
As The Globe and Mail reports, Trudeau brought his cabinet together to discuss growing consequences of arresting high-tech giant Huawei’s chief financial officer and having her extradited to the U.S., where she and her company face 23 criminal charges.
At the same time, American intelligence chiefs were telling the Senate Intelligence Committee that China is the paramount espionage concern for the U.S. and its allies. (RELATED: Chinese State Media Compares Canada To ‘A Wh*re Over Arrest Of Huawei Executive)
While China remains a potential military threat to the U.S., Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said it is also an economic espionage adversary and has been actively stealing technology from Western companies.
Coats, who was joined at the session by FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel, noted that the communist government could also wage cyber warfare and has the capability to interfere with the functioning of vital facilities or could even shut down news unfavorable to the regime.
“While we were sleeping in the last decade and a half, China had a remarkable rise … a significant amount of that was achieved by stealing information from our companies,” Coats said.
“We have alerted our allies. They are now second-guessing and questioning their initial response to China: ‘Oh it’s a great market, we need to get over there – don’t worry about anything else except selling our product,'” he said. “They’re now finding that their product has been duplicated by the Chinese and sold for half the price because they didn’t have to spend as much money on research and development.”
Although Canada arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in December, she is currently out on a $10 million (CAD) bail bond and is residing in her Vancouver home — although under surveillance and subject to a curfew. Since that arrest, China has retaliated by arresting two Canadians and sentencing a third to death for a drug smuggling conviction. (RELATED: China Calls Trudeau ‘Irresponsible’ For Criticizing Canadian’s Death Sentence)
Canada has yet to announce whether it will exclude Huawei from the 5G cellular network market, although the U.S, Australia and New Zealand have done so.
Meng made a return appearance to a Vancouver courthouse Tuesday to review her bail conditions. On Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice initiated a formal extradition request. Hearings will begin in March.