Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei Technologies executive arrested in Canada at the behest of the U.S. for allegedly violating trade sanctions with Iran, might be able to avoid extradition due to “political involvement by comments from Donald Trump in her case,” Canada’s ambassador to China told Chinese media outlets in an interview. Reuters reports Ambassador John McCallum told journalists Tuesday that Meng, who was arrested Dec. 1 and is on house arrest in Vancouver, might be able to dodge extradition entirely. That’s because of President Trump’s comment that he could intervene in Meng’s case if it served the United States’ national security or geopolitical interests, McCallum said. The Trump administration has until Jan. 30 to request Meng’s extradition. Beijing is reportedly furious over Meng’s arrest, and has since detained 13 Canadian citizens in what has been widely described as retaliation.
On Thursday, McCallum walked back his comments and claimed that he “misspoke.” “Canada is conducting a fair, unbiased, and transparent legal proceeding with respect to Meng Wanzhou,” McCallum wrote in a statement cited on Twitter by CTV reporter Mackenzie Gray. After expressing his regret that his comments sparked “confusion,” McCallum added that “As the government has consistently made clear, there has been no political involvement in this process.”