China's foreign ministry has called on a United States ambassador to lodge a "strong protest" over the arrest in Canada of Huawei's global CFO, saying the US should withdraw its arrest warrant.
Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of the founder of Huawei, was arrested in Canada on December 1, and faces extradition to the US, which alleges she covered up her company's links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite trade sanctions.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng told Ambassador Terry Branstad that the US had made an "unreasonable demand" to Canada of detaining Meng while she was passing through Vancouver, China's foreign ministry says.
"The actions of the US seriously violated the lawful and legitimate rights of the Chinese citizen, and by their nature were extremely nasty," Le told Branstad, comments similar to those he made to Canada's ambassador the night before.
China urges the US to pay attention to China's solemn and just position, and withdraw the arrest warrant on Meng, Le added.
"China will respond further depending on US actions," he said, without elaborating.
Le also told the Canadian ambassador on Saturday that there would be severe consequences if it did not immediately release Meng.
Since at least 2016, the United States has been looking into whether Huawei shipped US-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of US export and sanctions laws, Reuters reported in April.
Companies are barred from using the US financial system to funnel goods and services to sanctioned entities.
US Senator Marco Rubio told CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday that he would "100 percent absolutely" introduce something in the new Congress that would ban Chinese networking companies from doing business in the United States.
"We have to understand Chinese companies are not like American companies, OK. We can't even get Apple to crack an iPhone for us in a terrorist investigation," he said.
"When the Chinese ask a telecom company, 'We want you to turn over all the data you've gathered in the country you're operating in', they will do it. No court order. Nothing like that. They will just do it. They have to. We need to understand that."
Rubio was a strong critic of China's ZTE, which pleaded guilty in March 2017 to violating US trade sanctions on sales to Iran and agreed to pay up to $1.2 billion in penalties to settle the case.
In February, the heads of the CIA, FBI, NSA, and the director of national intelligence to the Senate Intelligence Committee recommended that Americans not use products from Huawei and ZTE.
"We're deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don't share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks," FBI Director Christopher Wray said at the time.
"That provides the capacity to exert pressure or control over our telecommunications infrastructure. It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage."
"The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges, and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms Meng. The company believes the Canadian and US legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion," Huawei said last week.
"Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, US, and EU."
In recent months, a number of Western countries have made moves to ban Huawei from 5G rollouts.
Australia took the decision to ban Huawei in August.
"The government considers that the involvement of vendors who are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law, may risk failure by the carrier to adequately protect a 5G network from unauthorised access or interference," Canberra said at the time.
Director-general of the Australian Signals Directorate Mike Burgess said in October that the government could not find a set of security controls that would mitigate high-risk equipment in a 5G scenario.
"The distinction between core and edge collapses in 5G networks. That means that a potential threat anywhere in the network will be a threat to the whole network," Burgess said at the time.
"In consultation with operators and vendors, we worked hard this year to see if there were ways to protect our 5G networks if high-risk vendor equipment was present anywhere in these networks.
"At the end of this process, my advice was to exclude high-risk vendors from the entirety of evolving 5G networks."
New Zealand also made the call to ban Huawei from its 5G networks last month, despite NZ telco Spark and Huawei showing off a trial 5G network that was claimed to have core and edge separation.
Last week, BT Group in the United Kingdom said it will be stripping Huawei equipment from its mobile carrier EE's 3G and 4G core networks, and will not be using the Chinese technology giant for its 5G networks.
Huawei's Eric Xu told CNBC that blocking the company's 5G networking products will increase prices and make it harder for the US to become No. 1 in 5G. However, it has been a huge benefit to the two Scandinavian suppliers: Ericsson and Nokia.