Ottawa’s envoy in China meets with second detained Canadian: Ministry

OTTAWA: Ottawa’s ambassador to Beijing has met with the second Canadian detained in China on suspicion of threatening national security, Canada’s foreign ministry said Sunday.

The ministry said Ambassador John McCallum had met with Michael Spavor, a business consultant, two days after meeting with another detained Canadian, Michael Kovrig, a think tank employee.

“Canadian consular officials continue to provide consular services to him and his family and will continue to seek further access to Mr Spavor,“ the ministry said.

China arrested two Canadians after Ottawa detained a senior executive from tech giant Huawei at the behest of the United States.

“We are being absolutely clear on standing up for our citizens who have been detained, trying to figure out why, trying to work with China to demonstrate that this not acceptable,“ Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Toronto’s Citytv on Friday.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also branded the arrests “unacceptable.”

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer at Huawei, was released on bail in Vancouver on Tuesday pending extradition to the US. She is accused of violating US sanctions on Iran.

Beijing threatened Canada with “grave consequences” if she was not freed.

Ottawa has repeatedly said the arrest was not political but rather a judicial process in keeping with an extradition treaty with Washington.

In an interview with CTV News on Sunday, Trudeau expressed concerns about the impact of the US-China trade war on Canada, which has been pushing for a free trade deal with the latter.

“One of the things that we have to understand is when there is a conflict like this … where we’re talking about an escalating trade war, we’re talking about significant clashes between the world’s two largest economies,“ he said.

“There are going to be unintended consequences all around the world, including in Canada.”

Canadian companies operating in China have not reported significant difficulties amid the current diplomatic crisis.

However, coat manufacturer Canada Goose this week postponed the opening of a new store in Beijing for “construction reasons.” — AFP

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