U.S. rebuts idea Huawei case was prisoner swap

The White House has dismissed the suggestion that a Chinese tech executive was released in a prisoner swap.

Meng Wanzhou - Huawei's Chief Financial Officer - flew home to China from Canada last week after an agreement was reached with U.S. prosecutors to end the bank fraud case against her.

Shortly after her release, two Canadians detained in China - Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig - were let go and were on their way back home to Canada.

In a White House briefing on Monday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the cases had come up in a call between the Chinese and American president earlier this month.

However, she rejected the idea that Biden had brokered a prisoner swap:

"He raised the two individuals, the two Michael's, who have been released, very positive news. It should not come as a surprise that President Xi raised the Huawei official, but again, there was no negotiation on this call. These two leaders raised the cases of these two individuals, but there was no negotiation about it. It was President Biden raising and pressing again for the release of these two Michaels -- this is something that happens in every engagements with the Chinese, or had up to this point in time."

Psaki went on to say that the deal announced on Friday did not indicate a softening of U.S. concerns about Chinese behavior.

"Our policy has not changed our policy toward China. We're not seeking conflict. It is a relationship of competition. And we're going to continue to hold the PRC to account for its unfair economic practices, its coercive actions around the world and its human rights abuses."

Meng arrived to a hero's welcomed in China over the weekend, and official media there suggested that her release could be a chance to reboot fraught U.S.-China ties.

Beijing has always denied that the arrests of the two Canadians were linked to Meng's case.

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