China-US relations: Xi Jinping raised Meng Wanzhou case in talks with Joe Biden
- Beijing confirms the Huawei executive was discussed during September 9 phone call between two leaders
- White House says Biden brought up Spavor and Kovrig
“President Xi Jinping made a clear and specific effort on the Meng Wanzhou incident, clarified China’s position, and demanded that the United States settle the issue properly as soon as possible,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in Beijing.
Hua said Xi had taken a personal interest in the case since Meng was detained in Canada in December 2018 at the request of the US.
“The Chinese government has done a lot of work at different levels, providing consular protection and assistance to Meng, and making solemn representation to the US and Canada to demand the charges against her be dropped and she be allowed to return to China,” she said.
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After nearly three years under house arrest in Vancouver, Meng was released on Friday after admitting wrongdoing – but not guilt – in a case relating to alleged violations of US sanctions on Iran.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki also confirmed that Xi raised Meng’s case in the phone call with Biden on September 9.
Psaki also said Biden pressed for the release of Canadian businessman Michael Spavor and former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig, who were detained by China soon after Meng’s arrest. The two Canadians returned to Canada on the weekend.
“These two leaders raised the cases of these individuals but there was no negotiation about it,” Psaki said.
In their earlier statements about the call, neither China nor the US mentioned Huawei.
China said Xi warned that confrontation between China and the US would lead to suffering for other nations, while a White House statement said the phone call was to ensure competition with China did not veer into conflict.
‘Our China policy has not changed,’ says White House after release of Huawei CFO Meng
On Monday, Psaki rejected suggestions the releases were a “prisoner swap”, saying there was “no link” between the cases.
She also said the resolution of Meng’s case had “zero impact” on the administration’s “substantive policy” toward China.
The release of Meng was on a list of requests China presented to the US in July, which also included items such as removing restrictions on US visa applications for Chinese students and Communist Party members.
Hua said the resolution of Meng’s case “removed a thorn that was deeply inserted in the relationship between China and the United States”.
“The settlement of the Meng case is of positive significance,” she said. “We hope that the US will ... take concrete actions so that these two lists can be cleared.”