Canada’s envoy to China decries Huawei arrest as U.S.-inspired

Posted December 15, 2018

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, asked about Spavor's detention, said both he and Kovrig were suspected of harming national security, reiterating state media announcements.

The detention of two Canadian citizens in China is unacceptable and they must be returned, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a press briefing on Friday with Secretary of Defense James Mattis and their Canadian counterparts.

He said authorities had taken measures "according to the law" in the Canadians' cases, and China welcomed foreign visitors, and they had nothing to fear so long as they obeyed the law.

Canadians are being cautioned by federal officials about travelling to China and to continue to 'exercise a high degree of caution, ' if visiting the country.

His disappearance emerged after former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig was detained by state security during a visit to Beijing on Monday.

Michael Spavor, a consultant in Chinese and North Korean trade, has been missing since he last made contact with Canadian officials. He said the cases are being handled separately by local bureaus of the national intelligence agency in Beijing, where Kovrig was picked up, and the northeastern city of Dandong, where Spavor had been living.

A Canadian citizen who met with Kim Jong Un and has business ties to North Korea has been arrested, China's foreign ministry confirmed Thursday.

China on Thursday confirmed it has detained two Canadian men, raising the stakes in a three-way worldwide dispute over the case of a Chinese telecoms executive facing possible extradition from Canada to the United States.

Meng was released on a $7.5-million bail by a court in Vancouver on Tuesday pending a United States extradition hearing.

"But as a business woman, I'm anxious this case will affect the relationship between Canada and China, and affect our export businesses in the future".

"In the cases of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor our immediate concern has been to get consular access to them and to understand what the charges are being put on them by the Chinese authorities", Freeland said.

David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said not only the USA but other Western nations should be standing up for Canada.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says any reports that Canada could ban Huawei from its 5G networks are "speculation".

Spavor runs tours of North Korea along with sports, business and other exchanges through his company, Paektu Cultural Exchange.

Lu said the two Canadians legal rights are being "safeguarded". Neither Canada nor China has formally linked the cases.

"China knows it needs to take action because you can see the levels of pollution they have but they also see the economic opportunity", she added.

China is one of Canada's biggest buyers of agricultural products from oilseeds to softwood lumber and is a growing market for the nation's banks, insurers and luxury-good makers.

Canadian officials say a wide range of topics was planned for their talks, including Russia-Ukraine tensions and issues related to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, but the ongoing tensions with China will definitely be on the table.

That's balanced against the risk of a lengthy prison term if convicted, as the fraud offences she is alleged to have committed carry a maximum of 30 years in jail.

"I was stunned to hear of Mike's apparent arrest, which is now the talk of the town in Seoul's NGO, journalistic and diplomatic circles", Andrew Salmon, the Asia Times Northeast Asia correspondent and editor, said.

President Donald Trump told Reuters Wednesday that he would be willing to intervene in the case against Meng, if it would assist in his trade deal negotiations with China.

In June, Trump vowed to make Canada pay after Trudeau said he wouldn't be pushed around in talks to hammer out a new North American trade agreement, an unprecedented attack on America's closest ally.