China calls US warning to Israel on investment ‘ridiculous’

Tel Aviv’s skyline. (AFP pic)

BEIJING: China slammed the US for warning Israel over investments by Chinese tech giants Huawei Technologies and ZTE, calling its actions “ridiculous.”

“The US has been abusing the idea of ‘national security,’ slandering and striking down the normal commercial activities of Chinese enterprises,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a briefing in Beijing on Monday. “The US has been ignoring the facts and is being extremely nervous, mistaking each bush and tree for the enemy and mistaking the shadow of a bow in one’s cup as a snake.”

“Even its allies find it ridiculous,” she said.

The US has expressed worries about foreign investment in Israel, particularly from China, amid an unprecedented trade war between the world’s two largest economies. Its concerns revolve particularly around Huawei and ZTE, as well as Chinese investment in the Port of Haifa, which has hosted the US Sixth Fleet.

Deepening feud

Separately, a US request for the Dec 1 arrest of Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver has triggered a spiralling diplomatic feud between China and Canada.

After Meng’s arrest, China seized two Canadians over alleged national security threats and moved to execute another for drug smuggling. Chinese press briefings regularly mock Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“If Canada’s leaders are responsible towards its people and its relations with China, it should stop engaging in megaphone diplomacy, but rather examine what the crux of the issue is and take real action to seek a rational solution together with China,” Hua said Monday.

The Canadians’ detentions have fueled fears of arbitrary seizure among its citizens and other foreigners doing business in China. The countries have travel alerts for each other, with Canadian citizens urged to exercise a “high degree of caution” in the Asian nation. China “welcomes foreign citizens to engage in normal activities,” Hua said.

Senior Canadian officials last week stepped up their warnings about China’s actions. Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada was arguing that China represents a “way of behaving which is a threat to all countries.” Canadian ambassador to China John McCallum said the feud was damaging Beijing’s reputation and risked undermining its interests among the global business community.