U.S. weighs China travel advisory linked to Huawei case: sources

A man uses his phone as he sits in front of a Huawei shop in Beijing, China, December 11, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is considering issuing a new warning to U.S. citizens, including executives, traveling to China after Canada arrested a senior Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] executive at the U.S. government’s request, two sources said on Tuesday.

Such an advisory from the State Department would warn U.S. nationals of the risk that China could retaliate against them for the detention of the Huawei executive, according to one of the sources familiar with the situation.

Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, arrested on Dec. 1 in Vancouver, returned to a Canadian court on Tuesday for a bail hearing and is fighting a U.S. extradition request, China has protested her arrest to U.S. and Canadian officials.

Meng faces U.S. accusations that she misled multinational banks about Huawei’s control of a company operating in Iran. This put the banks at risk of violating U.S. sanctions and incurring penalties, court documents said.

Canada confirmed on Tuesday that one of its citizens was detained in China but said it saw no explicit connection to Huawei case.

In its most recent advisory for China issued on Jan. 22, the State Department urged Americans to “exercise increased caution” in the country because of “the arbitrary enforcement of local laws and special restrictions on dual U.S.-Chinese nationals.”

That advisory said Chinese authorities have the ability to bar foreigners from leaving China, issuing so-called “exit bans” to compel them to resolve business disputes, to force settlement of court orders or facilitate government investigations.

Reporting by Arshad Mohammed and Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Bill Trott

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