(PM) – Former Canadian ambassador John McCallum, who was fired for commenting on the extradition case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in front of Chinese-language reporters, said on Tuesday that tensions between Canada and China would cool if the United States would abandon the warrant.
McCallum said the “best thing” U.S. President Donald Trump could do to secure the release of two Canadians detained in what Ottawa has classified as a tit-for-tat move to drop the push to have Meng, who was arrested over Washington’s claim that her and Huawei are trying to circumvent sanctions against Iran.
“I don’t think there’s an easy, immediate fix at this point,” McCallum said. He told reporters that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s best chance of securing the release of citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor from China may rely on Trump.
“I certainly hope that [Trump] can help. I think from the point of view of restoring relations and releasing our hostages, the best thing that Trump could do would be to say that he is no longer seeking to extradite Meng Wanzhou.”
Though President Trump is expected to meet with the Chinese president on the sidelines of the G20 summit over trade, McCallum said “I doubt he will say that”, adding that the U.S. president is a “difficult person to predict”. However, Trump said during a meeting with Trudeau last week he would do “anything” to help Ottawa get its citizens back.
An indictment unsealed in January revealed that Meng and Huawei face 13 criminal counts of conspiracy , fraud and obstruction in the United States — related to business with Iran that prosecutors said it taking place via a shadow corporation based in Tehran actually controlled by Huawei.