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China harmed ties by letting Snowden go: US

world Updated: Jun 25, 2013 01:15 IST
Yashwant Raj

The United States on Monday said the Chinese government made a “deliberate choice” to let NSA leaker Edward Snowden leave Hong Kong, damaging US-China relations.

The US also said it assumes Snowden is in Moscow and that the Russian authorities will expel him to face charges in the US of releasing secret surveillance programme information.

“We are just not buying that this was a technical decision by immigration officials,” White House press secretary Jay Carney, adding, “It was a deliberate choice by the government (of China) to release the fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant and decision unquestionably has a negative impact on US-China relations.”

He did not elaborate on the consequences of that decision.

Carney said the Hong Kong had received US provisional warrant of arrest for Snowden on June 17. And they did respond to inquiries if they needed anymore information.

US attorney general Eric Holder spoke to his counterpart in Hong Kong two days after. And still there was no request for more information, which came on June 21.

It was while the US was putting together a response to that request that news came that Snowden had left Hong Kong for Moscow, eventually on way to Ecuador, his stated destination.

Without naming Ecuador, secretary of state John Kerry said in New Delhi, that countries, which might be considering giving Snowden shelter have been “put on notice”.