Canada 'deeply concerned' after China detains former diplomat

Canadian businessman Michael Spavor

Canadian businessman Michael Spavor with Kim Jong Un in 2013

Michael Kovrig's detention comes after police in Canada arrested the chief financial officer of China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] on December 1 at the request of USA authorities, a move that has infuriated Beijing.

The Canadian authorities have agreed to release our CFO, Ms. Meng Wanzhou, on bail following her detainment on behalf of... She faces up to 30 years in prison if found guilty.

Ms. Freeland said the Canadian, who she did not name, had contacted government officials after being questioned by Chinese authorities.

United States officials have said the arrest was unrelated to the trade talks, but President Donald Trump told Reuters he "would certainly intervene" in the case if it can help strike a deal with China.

Richard McGregor, from the Lowy Institute, said China had taken Mr Kovrig hostage in response to the detention of the Huawei executive in a simple "tit for tat" move.

Such an advisory from the State Department would warn U.S. nationals of the risk that China could retaliate against them for the detention of Ms Meng.

In what some have speculated is a tit-for-tat response, China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig this week.

The US State Department is considering issuing a travel warning for its citizens, two sources said on Tuesday. Reuters was not able to confirm the report.

Beijing said Wednesday a detained former Canadian diplomat may have violated Chinese laws if he carried out work in the country because his employer is not legally registered in China. The Canadian government said it saw no explicit link to the Huawei case, but analysts had predicted retaliation from Beijing.

Kovrig, a Mandarin speaker, was a political officer at the embassy from 2014-2016 who met with dissidents and travelled to China's restive far west Xinjiang region, Saint-Jacques said. "If they want to send you a message, they will send you a message", he said.

"Given her unique profile as the face of a Chinese corporate national champion, if she were to flee or breach her order in any way in these very unique circumstances, it does not overstate to say she would embarrass China itself", David Martin, Meng's lawyer, told the court on Monday.

Meng Wanzhou's bail on Tuesday night comes after three days of hearings, the Guardian reported. China had vowed that Canada would suffer serious consequences over Meng's arrest.

Her family assured the court she would remain in Vancouver at one of her family houses in an affluent neighborhood.

Her lawyer initially said that her husband, a Chinese national who spends time in Vancouver, could serve as her guarantor - a suggestion the judge and prosecutors did not appear to like.

Bail was set at C$10m (£6m; $7.4m) in cash and collateral.

Meng has said that she should be released on bail due to severe hypertension and fears for her health while incarcerated in Canada, court documents released on Sunday showed.

Trump said that Huawei's alleged practices are troubling.

"We have every confidence that the Canadian and United States legal systems will reach a just conclusion in the following proceedings", the company said in a statement. In addition, she is accused of misrepresenting or concealing ties between Huawei and Hong Kong's Skycom, which had a presence in Iran and attempted to sell products to Tehran in violation of USA and European sanctions.

Latest News