Pence urges Trudeau to ban Huawei from Canadian 5G networks – The Globe and Mail

Pence urges Trudeau to ban Huawei from Canadian 5G networks - The Globe and Mail
Trudeau urges U.S. Democrats in Congress to pass new NAFTA
U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence made a personal appeal to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday to bar Huawei Technologies from supplying gear to Canadas next generation 5G wireless networks, saying the Chinese telecom giant represents a national-security risk to Western countries.

This marked the highest-level official U.S. request of Canada since the Trump administration and bipartisan members of Congress began actively lobbying allies last year to prohibit domestic telecoms from installing Huaweis 5G technology.

Let me say: We have been very clear with Canada, and with all of our allies, that we consider Huawei incompatible with the security interests of the United States of America or our allies … across the world, Mr. Pence told a joint news conference in Ottawa. We have urged our partners in Europe [and] we continue to urge Canada in this regard.

"They are significant things that we look to the U.S. Democrats to understand are significant improvements and are issues that, like Canadian Liberals, they care deeply about," he said. "So we are confident that the work being done on ratification is possible because we made sure that, from multiple angles, this was a better deal for Americans, for Canadians and for Mexicans."

Mr. Pence said the fact that companies in China are required under law to conduct espionage at the request of Beijings security services gives the Chinese government access to information and data that is collected by Chinese companies like Huawei.

He said the United States will be taking steps to promote viable Western alternatives to Huawei gear “that dont compromise privacy, that dont compromise security.

The Prime Minister would not commit to banning Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. Thursday, saying the government is currently conducting a cybersecurity review of the potential risks of allowing Canadian wireless companies to use Chinas 5G equipment.

Democrats in Congress have expressed reservations about the deal — dubbed the U.S.-Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) by the Trump administration — saying it falls short on environmental protections, labour standards and the ability to enforce them in Mexico, the dispute resolution process and measures they fear could make drug prices more expensive.

We trust our national-security and intelligence experts to make recommendations on how we can ensure that Canadians are safe as we move toward a 5G world, Mr. Trudeau said.

Trudeau and Pence also discussed the crisis in Venezuela and the growing number of states adopting anti-abortion laws. Trudeau repeated his concerns about what he called the "anti-choice" movement, while Pence said he is proud to be part of a "pro-life" administration. Pence said they exchanged views on the topic respectfully.

Huawei − which has grown quickly to become the worlds largest telecommunications-equipment manufacturer − is at the heart of the battle between Washington and Beijing over what the Trump administration says is an effort by China to use its tech companies to expand its geopolitical goals.

"We are in the midst of significant discussion over our trading relationship, but I can assure you in that context going forward we're going to continue to urge China to release the Canadian citizens even while we deal with the larger economic and structural issues between the U.S. and China," Pence said.

The U.S. has threatened to curtail the sharing of sensitive intelligence to countries that allow Huawei into their 5G networks, particularly members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance that includes Canada, Britain, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. The latter three have taken steps to bar domestic wireless companies from installing Huaweis 5G.

Pence said he also had "extensive discussions" with Trudeau over the detained Canadians as their meeting went more than half an hour longer than scheduled. The pair continues to languish in Chinese custody, on allegations of espionage, although their plight is widely seen as retribution for the detention last December of tech scion and Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wangzhou, whom Canada arrested on an extradition request by the U.S.

The Vice-President, on his first official visit to Canada, reiterated U.S. demands for Beijing to free two Canadians who were detained by China after Canadian authorities arrested senior Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition request at Vancouvers international airport in December.

The United States renewed our call on the Chinese government to release the two Canadians who have been wrongfully detained for the last six months without due process of law,” he said. “We stand with Canada on this cause and we will continue to until your citizens are restored.

Another key foreign-policy difference was on display between the two: Pence called Cuba a "malign influence" in the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, for its continued support of President Nicolas Maduro. Canada and the U.S. view him as a dictator with an illegitimate hold on power, and who must give way to opposition leader Juan Guaido as the countrys interim president.

Mr. Pence did not respond when a reporter asked if the U.S. might withdraw its extradition request of Ms. Meng, a possibility that President Donald Trump has not ruled out as part of protracted trade talks with China.

"While the Canadians rush to approve this deal, Congressional Democrats remain committed to making key changes to the core of the agreement that will include strong labour and environmental standards and enforcement and remove the monopoly rights for Big Pharma," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat opposed to the agreement.

But he suggested that Mr. Trump could raise the cases of former diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian businessman Michael Spavor with Chinas President Xi Jinping when he attends a G20 summit along with Mr. Trudeau in Japan in late June.

Pence repeatedly emphasized his governments effort to get the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement through Congress before the summer recess. Giving momentum to the ratification of the USMCA, as the U.S. calls it, was the main reason for Pences visit, one day after the Liberals introduced ratification legislation in the House of Commons.

We are going to continue to urge China to release the Canadian citizens even as we deal with the larger economic and structural issues between the United States and China, he said. We respect and are grateful for the strong stand for the rule of law that Canada has taken with regard to the Huawei executive.

U.S. authorities allege that Ms. Meng, the daughter of Huaweis founder, committed fraud relating to U.S. sanctions against Iran.

"We are in the midst of significant discussions over our trading relationships but I can assure you in that context going forward were going to continue to urge China to release the Canadian citizens even while we deal with larger economic and structural issues between the United States and China," Pence said.

Mr. Trudeau said many of Canadas allies have expressed their dismay at China for what they consider the arbitrary arrest of the two Canadians. Beijing also blocked billions of dollars of Canadian canola and farm products in the wake of Ms. Mengs arrest.

The democracies of the West are united in our condemnation of these arbitrary detentions in an attempt to gain political leverage, Mr. Trudeau said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would raise his concerns about backsliding on womens rights in the US as he meets Vice President Mike Pence – one of the most prominent American abortion opponents today.

Last week, Chinas ambassador to Canada, Lu Shaye, told The Globe and Mail that Canada must free Ms. Meng before normal relations can resume.

Even Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer – who has a slight advantage in opinion polls five months ahead of a national election – has said he would not reopen the abortion debate if elected.

Chinas Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, has refused to even take a phone call from Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Ahead of the visit, when asked by a reporter whether he would discuss abortion with Pence, Trudeau replied in French: You all know my opinion on that. We will always defend womens rights. 

The U.S. Vice-President was in Ottawa largely to discuss the ratification of the new North American free-trade agreement.

AHead of the talks, when asked by a reporter whether he would discuss abortion with Pence, Trudeau replied in French: You all know my opinion on that. We will always defend womens rights

The Prime Minister tabled legislation to ratify the continental treaty in Parliament on Wednesday, but there are concerns that the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives will block the deal.

In the US, numerous Republican-controlled states – including Alabama, Mississippi, and Missouri – have approved restrictive abortion laws that the Supreme Court may rule on in the future.

Mr. Pence assured the Prime Minster that the administration is working hard to get the treaty passed this summer.

The Liberal Party leader added: I am very concerned about the conservative movement, which is beginning to take away the rights of women in the United States and elsewhere

Mr. Trudeau has made it clear that Canada intends to align its ratification process with the time frame of the U.S. Congress and expressed concerns about any major changes to the treaty.

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Canada doesnt anticipate reopening that text. I think we all know reopening negotiations could lead to significant delays, he said.

In his talks, Mr. Trudeau raised the continuing softwood-lumber dispute and possible U.S. plans for tariffs on uranium imports, which would have a significant impact if they applied to Canada.

The crisis in Venezuela was also on the agenda Thursday. Mr. Pence lauded Ottawa for sanctioning officials connected to the regime of President Nicolas Maduro and for playing a leading role in the Lima Group – a bloc of a dozen countries in the Americas that meet regularly to discuss Venezuela.

The Lima Group – which includes Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Chile − backs Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidos push to oust Mr. Maduro but opposes military intervention.

However, Mr. Trudeau made it clear that he did not agree with Mr. Pences tough criticism of Cuba, which has backed the Venezuelan President.

We acknowledge the United States position and perspective on Cuba. Canada has a very different view, he said, noting that Cuba could potentially play a very positive role in the Lima Group to stabilize the situation in Venezuela.

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