© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People hold signs calling for China to release Canadian detainees Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig during a court appearance by Huawei’s Financial Chief Meng Wanzhou, outside of British Columbia Supreme Court building in Vancouver, British Col

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will discuss their joint dispute with China over Huawei Technologies Co Ltd during a meeting in Ottawa on Thursday, a senior U.S. administration official said.

Pence, known for taking a hard line against China, will travel to the Canadian capital to discuss trade issues, including Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms network gear maker, which Washington has moved to isolate.

“Canada has been a close ally in the way that they’ve approached their relationship with China – and there could be some conversation about Huawei,” the official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The battle spilled into Canada last year, when the company’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wangzhou was arrested on a U.S. warrant. She faces extradition to the United States on charges she conspired to defraud global banks about Huawei’s relationship with a company operating in Iran. She and the company deny the charges.

Shortly after her arrest, Canadian businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig were detained in China, and were formally arrested for espionage last week. Canada has called the detentions arbitrary.

China has also blocked imports of top Canadian commodities in response to the dispute.

“Expect some very tangible outcomes from their discussion with regard to China that we’ll share with you tomorrow,” a second U.S. official told reporters.

The officials declined to say whether Pence would offer Canada assistance on the detentions and the trade stoppages, but noted Pence plans to make a separate address in the coming days about the “current state of affairs” in China.

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2019-05-29