China and the US are trying to keep their complicated trade disputes separate from the charges levelled against China’s telecommunications giant Huawei, observers said on Tuesday ahead of the latest round of talks. On Monday, the US Justice Department filed nearly two dozen charges against Huawei, ranging from bank fraud to stealing trade secrets. US officials also made clear that they would submit an extradition request to Canada before Wednesday’s deadline to bring Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, the company’s chief financial officer, to America for trial. The steps drew immediate criticism from Beijing, which has blasted the moves as politically motivated and demanded that Canada release Meng immediately. Meng, also the daughter of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Vancouver in December when she was changing flights. But Monday’s indictment was filed just hours before the arrival of a Chinese trade delegation led by Vice-Premier Liu He in Washington for two days of trade talks. Speaking in Beijing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing hoped that the trade talks in Washington would make progress and he did not draw any direct links between the Huawei case and the trade negotiations. Charges against Huawei ‘a US bid to destroy Chinese companies’ Geng reiterated that Washington was well aware of China’s positions on Meng and Huawei as well as the trade issues. He would not elaborate on whether Meng’s case would be raised by the Chinese trade negotiators but said Beijing hoped the trade talks would lead to mutually acceptable solutions. Observers, however, were less optimistic. “This doesn’t bode well for this week’s trade meetings, and further increases the already intense pressure on Liu He to strike a broad deal,” said Brock Silvers, managing director at Kaiyuan Capital referring to the announcements by Washington on Monday. Wu Xinbo, director of the centre for American studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, said Beijing has tried to keep the two issues as “parallel”. Huawei charges are US attempt to smear Chinese firms, Beijing says “The Chinese side will make sure that the trade talks will not be affected by Meng’s case, which is now undeniably a prominent issue overshadowing China-US relations,” said Wu. “The Chinese delegation will not link the two issues … and they will go in parallel, but they are likely to be brought up if there is a suitable time and occasion.” Shi Yinhong, professor of international Relations and director of the centre on American Studies at Renmin University of China, said he expected Liu to explain China’s positions on Meng’s case when he meets US President Donald Trump on Thursday – although Beijing is well aware that it might not change Trump’s views on the issue. “The Chinese side knows that it won’t get much by bringing up the issue of Meng during the negotiations, so it’s not prepared to use the case as part of the bargaining,” Shi said. “After all, finding a solution to the trade war is very important and beneficial to China now.” US indictment shows FBI interviewed Huawei founder in 2007 Edwin Feulner, founder and former president of the Heritage Foundation think talk, said at a talk in Hong Kong on Tuesday that the Trump administration will also want to keep the two issues separate. “But I have to believe that President Trump and the people around him also want to come to a general agreement with the authorities in Beijing [on broad trade policy] and that this is not part of some grand strategy by the Trump administration to put the Chinese government on notice,” Feulner said.