The arrest of Huawei's global chief financial officer in Canada, reportedly related to a violation of U.S. sanctions, will corrode trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing, risk consultancy Eurasia Group said Thursday.
"Beijing is likely to react angrily to this latest arrest of a Chinese citizen in a third country for violating U.S. law," Eurasia analysts wrote.
In fact, Global Times — a hyper-nationalistic tabloid tied to the Chinese Communist Party — responded to the arrest by posting on Twitter a statement about trade war escalation it attributed to an expert "close to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce."
"China should be fully prepared for an escalation in the #tradewar with the US, as the US will not ease its stance on China, and the recent arrest of the senior executive of #Huawei is a vivid example," said the statement, paired with a photo of opposing fists with Chinese and American flags superimposed upon them.
Canada's Department of Justice said on Wednesday the country arrested Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, where she is facing extradition to the U.S. The arrest is related to violations of U.S. sanctions, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.
U.S. authorities have been probing Huawei, one of the world's largest makers of telecommunications network equipment, since at least 2016 for allegedly shipping U.S.-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of U.S. export and sanctions laws, sources told Reuters in April.
The analysts said the Huawei executive's arrest will not derail the start of trade negotiations after U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting last weekend in Argentina saw them agree to first steps to resolve their trade dispute. Still, they acknowledged, the incident involving Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei is likely to cloud talks.