China summons U.S. ambassador to protest detention of Huawei exec

China demands release of tech executive

BEIJING — China has summoned the U.S. ambassador to protest the detention of an executive of electronics giant Huawei in Canada at Washington's behest.

The official Xinhua News Agency says Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng "lodged solemn representations and strong protests" with Ambassador Terry Branstad on Sunday against the detention of Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, while she was changing planes in Vancouver, Canada, last week. Meng is reportedly suspected of trying to evade U.S. trade curbs on Iran.

Xinhua quoted Le as calling Meng's detention "extremely egregious" and demanded the U.S. vacate an order for her arrest. It quoted Le as calling for the U.S. to "immediately correct its wrong actions" and said it would take further steps based on Washington's response.

The move follows the summoning of Canadian Ambassador John McCallum on Saturday over Meng's detention and a similar protest. 

Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies and has been the target of deepening U.S. security concerns over its ties to the Chinese government. The U.S. has pressured European countries and other allies to limit use of its technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft of information.

On Sunday, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida renewed his call for banning Huawei and other Chinese firms from doing business in the U.S., saying they posed a threat to national security.

"We have to understand Chinese companies are not like American companies," Rubio said on "Face the Nation." "We can't even get Apple to crack an iPhone for us in a terrorist investigation. There isn't a single company in China that doesn't have to do whatever the government tells them to do. They are legally required to do it. And trust me, if they don't do it they'll find a new CEO to run that company or a new company to take that company's place."