McCallum says he ‘misspoke’ on politics of Huawei case

Canada's ambassador to China John McCallum
Canada’s ambassador to China, John McCallum, arrives to brief members of the Foreign Affairs committee regarding China in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. , THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canada’s ambassador to China sought to retract comments suggesting politics would play a role in the potential extradition to the U.S. of a Huawei Technologies Co. executive, adding another setback to weeks of tension between the two countries.

John McCallum said in a statement Thursday that he “misspoke” earlier this week when he discussed the case of Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou. On Tuesday, he said she had “strong arguments” to avoid extradition in part because U.S. President Donald Trump had discussed the case. Those comments contradicted weeks of assurances from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the process was in the hands of Canada’s court system.

“I regret that my comments with respect to the legal proceedings of Ms. Meng have created confusion. I misspoke,” McCallum said in a written statement. “As the government has consistently made clear, there has been no political involvement in this process.”

Trudeau earlier Thursday brushed off calls from Canada’s main opposition party leader for McCallum’s removal, saying that such a step would do nothing to secure the release of two Canadians who…

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