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Xi raised case of Huawei CFO in recent call with Biden By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO : Chinese President Xi Jinping holds hands with Joe Biden (L), inside the Great Hall of the People, Beijing. December 4, 2013. REUTERS/Lintao Zhang/Pool/File Photo

By Alexandra Alper

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House said on Monday that an agreement that allowed for the release of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou last week was a legal matter and does not represent a softening of U.S. concerns about Chinese behavior.

It has absolutely no effect. Jen Psaki, a White House spokesperson told reporters that no one should interpret it as having an effect on substantive policy.

Two weeks ago, Biden and Xi held their first telephone conversation for months. The Friday agreement came about two weeks later.

According to the White House, Meng was brought up by Xi during the phone conversation. Biden then brought up two Canadians: Michael Spavor, a businessman, and Michael Kovrig who were held in China more than 1000 days.

It was clear that the three men were released hours apart, indicating that they had been part of a planned swap to ease tension.

Psaki explained to reporters that this was an administrative decision taken by the Department of Justice to allow Meng to return home.

On a U.S. arrest warrant, she was taken to Vancouver International Airport and charged with wire and bank fraud for allegedly misleading HSBC about Iran’s telecom equipment company business deals.

The news about the deal was announced within hours. Meng and two Canadians were taken into custody shortly thereafter. They were then released from Chinese prisons and sent back to Canada. Beijing denied the claims that they were connected to their arrests.

Psaki claimed that China’s policy had not been changed. We aren’t seeking conflict. “It is a relation of competition. We will continue to hold China accountable for its unfair economic practices and coercive acts around the globe and human rights violations,” she stated, using acronyms for People’s Republic of China. And we’ll continue doing that with our partners around the globe.”

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