The sweeping charges levelled against Chinese telecoms firm Huawei and its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou by United States officials this week could lead to a prolonged and bruising legal battle that can only heighten tensions between China and the US. There are also potentially serious international repercussions as Huawei operates globally and is the leading supplier of 5G networks in several countries. US officials have levelled 23 charges against Huawei, some of which also apply to Meng. Among them: misrepresenting the nature of Huawei's business with Iran to the US government and banks, in violation of US sanctions, stealing technology and obstructing justice.
While Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei's founder, fights possible extradition from Canada to the US, where she could face criminal proceedings, US officials claim that this is a judicial affair, unconnected with the ongoing US-China trade dispute. But there are reasons to doubt this claim, reinforced by US President Donald Trump's statement last month that he would be willing to intervene in Meng's extradition if it would help him reach a trade deal with China.