The market isn't going to like this...
During an interview with NPR's Morning Edition, National Security Advisor John Bolton revealed that he knew in advance that Canadian police were preparing to arrest Huawei CFO Wanzhou Meng, meaning that Bolton knew that Meng was being taken into custody when he sat down alongside President Trump for Saturday's dinner trade talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
However, Bolton said he was "unsure" whether Trump was aware of the arrest. We reported last night that Wanzhou was arrested in Canada and will likely be extradited to the US following an investigation into suspected violations of US sanctions against trade with Iran. The arrest is widely believed to be driving Thursday's selloff, as it will likely throw a wrench in the works of trade talks with China (last night, we noted that Wanzhou's arrest would be equivalent to China arresting the daughter of Tim Cook or Jeff Bezos).
News: @AmbJohnBolton tells @NPR of the arrest of a Chinese tech exec: "I knew in advance. That is something we get from the Justice Department." This means Bolton knew, at least in general terms, of the pending action as he joined Trump and Xi for dinner at G20. @MorningEdition— Steve Inskeep (@NPRinskeep) December 6, 2018
In the @npr talk, @AmbJohnBolton says he doesn't know if Trump was aware in advance. Bolton declined to name the specific alleged crime by Meng Wonzhou of Huawei, but "Huawei is one company we've been concerned about" regarding intellectual property theft and dealing with Iran.— Steve Inskeep (@NPRinskeep) December 6, 2018
What is the long-term US approach to China? Bolton says he hopes the economic changes the US is demanding during a 90-day negotiation will force some opening of their system. It could "have potentially profound impact on their political structure as well." @NPR @MorningEdition— Steve Inskeep (@NPRinskeep) December 6, 2018
"That's not what we're aiming at," Bolton adds, meaning the US is not explicitly trying to make China open its political system. "But if the theory is correct, we'll see what flows from it." Web story shortly; hear him on @npratc today; more on @MorningEdition Friday.— Steve Inskeep (@NPRinskeep) December 6, 2018
Bolton also claimed that the US isn't "aiming" at pushing for changes in China's "political structure." But if changes do result from China opening up its economy...well...that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.