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World

AFP
August 3, 2019

Canada raises detained citizens with China

World

AFP
Sat, Aug 03, 2019

MONTREAL: Canada´s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Friday she had spoken to her Chinese counterpart in their first public meeting since the countries became embroiled in a diplomatic spat over two Canadians detained in China.

Freeland told reporters she brought up the arrests of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor with Wang Yi during a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Thailand.

Their detention in December last year came amid a diplomatic crisis sparked by the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer for Chinese tech giant Huawei, in Vancouver on a US extradition bid.

"I took the opportunity to express Canada´s concern over the case of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor," Freeland said during a videoconference from Bangkok.

"The fact that we were able to speak and discuss these issues face-to-face directly with one another absolutely is a positive step."

During their conversation, Wang expressed his own concerns over Wanzhou´s extradition process, according to Freeland.

She added that she and Wang had agreed to continue discussions on the matter.

Canada arrested Meng in December per an extradition request from US authorities that have charged her with fraud for allegedly violating Iran sanctions and lying about it to US banks.

Meng, who denies wrongdoing, was placed under house arrest in Vancouver to await an extradition hearing set for January.

Former diplomat Kovrig and consultant Spavor were picked up in China on suspicion of espionage days after her arrest, in a move widely seen as retaliation.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Freeland have urged China to release the men.