The arrest of the Huawei heiress shocks China and the commercial truce with the US falters

The night of last day 1, at the same time that Donald Trump and Xin Jinping shared fillets of the famous Argentinian meat and Cabernet Malbec wine, the Canadian security forces

Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei, greets Vladimir Putin, president of Russia. STRINGERREUTERS

The night of last day 1, at the same time that Donald Trump and Xin Jinping shared fillets of the famous Argentine meat and Cabernet Malbec wine, the Canadian security forces stopped in Vancouver the daughter of the founder of the Chinese firm Huawei at the request of Washington , putting at risk the viability of the precarious pact that the two leaders were formalizing to establish a truce in the bilateral trade war.

The US accuses Sabrina Meng Wanzhou of violating the sanctions imposed by that country on Iran and demands her extradition . At the same time, the legal action represents "a new escalation" in the technological struggle waged by the two nations, in the words of the consultancy Eurasiagroup.

Washington does not ignore the enormous relevance of the chosen character. Meng Wanzhou, 46, is not only the financial director and vice president of the board of directors of the influential telecommunication and mobile phone company, but also the daughter of the company's founder , Ren Zhengfei, and its possible successor. "In other words, it is part of the Chinese elite," wrote the South China Morning Post .

Sabrina is also a well-known figure in the international financial field since she is usually the host of the International Huawei ICT Forum, which has been held in Milan, Cancun or New York, with the participation of noted bankers, analysts and members of this community.

Founded in the 1980s by the former engineer of the Chinese army, who is now 74 years old, Huawei is one of the most emblematic brands in the Asian state. The large conglomerate established in Shenzhen has become the world's second largest smartphone producer and the largest manufacturer of equipment for mobile telephony towers, internet networks and telecommunication infrastructure, generating 81,000 million euros of revenue last year.

"Extreme commotion" in the Asian giant

The arrest of Meng Wanzhou has generated an "extreme shock" in the Asian country , as Lu Xiang, a US relations expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

"If someone in the United States believes that threats to a person's safety can be used to strengthen their position in the talks (about the trade war), they are very likely to have miscalculated." The Chinese government will use maximum force to fight for the freedom of Meng Wanzhou, "he said.

"It's a declaration of war," Hu Xijing, director of the Global Times , said on Chinese Twitter, faithful to the nationalist tone of this newspaper.

The Chinese Embassy in Canada immediately criticized the two American nations and warned that their country will take "all measures to protect in a decisive way the rights and legitimate interests of Chinese citizens."

Hours later, the Foreign Ministry explained that it has presented a "formal complaint" to the two nations asking them to explain "immediately the reason for the arrest" and to release Meng.

Although Beijing seems to have reacted by trying to separate the upcoming negotiations on the commercial struggle of this incident, most analysts agree that this case has the "enormous risk of derailing" the entire dialogue , as Jia Wenshan of the University put it. Chapman from California.

The precedent of ZTE

The scuffle around Huawei bears a strong resemblance to Huawei's previous rival, ZTE, who admitted to violating US sanctions against Iran and North Korea last year and agreed to pay a fine of more than 1,000. million euros set by the US administration.

The harassment of the US administration put the company on the verge of collapse and only the intervention of Trump himself - who agreed to lift an embargo on the supply of American components - could save it from bankruptcy.

The onslaught against Huawei and ZTE is inscribed in the offensive that the Trump government sponsors against the main Chinese technology companies, which it considers a threat to its primacy in that sector.

Trump banned in December the presence of Huawei and ZTE products in the nuclear facilities of his country , while the legislative chambers are studying new rules that would extend that boycott to all the administration and companies that work with the North American Government.

"Huawei and ZTE are two sides of the same coin, Chinese telecommunication companies that represent a fundamental risk to America's national security," said US Senator Chris Van Hollen.

Washington has also called on allies around the world to step in and restrict access for Huawei and ZTE to their markets, a move that has already been supported by countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

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