Canada granted consular access to ex-diplomat held by China

Ann Santiago
December 15, 2018

"Huawei Canada will continue to work collaboratively with the Canadian government, carriers and other domestic stakeholders to take whatever steps are needed to ensure and protect the integrity of Canada's national telecommunications infrastructure, including the rollout of 5G technology".

Accused of sanctions busting and forced to abide by a curfew and wear an ankle bracelet as she awaits possible extradition to the United States, China's "Princess of Huawei" could be said to have fallen spectacularly from grace.

She referred to Canada as a "rule of law country", and said she had spoken with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about Meng's case earlier in the week.

The two Canadians are "suspected of engaging in activities that threatened China's national security", Lu said at a regular press conference, without explaining if the two cases are related.

He said Beijing security and state security officials in the city of Dandong, Liaoning Province had taken measures against Spavor and Kovrig. The company's website says "in 2013 and 2014, [Spavor] organized the Dennis Rodman visits, and the basketball match between the DPRK and former NBA players, where he also became friends with the country's leader Marshal Kim Jong Un".

Kovrig's detention follows Chinese warnings to Canada of consequences for its recent arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the Vancouver airport.

She was released on bail of US$7.5 million by a court in Vancouver on Tuesday pending a U.S. extradition hearing.

Her case has angered Beijing and shaken Canada's relations with China, which is embroiled in a trade war with Washington.

"We are very personally concerned about Mr. Kovrig".

Asked if the detentions were in response to Ms Meng's arrest, he said they were part of an "operation taken by China's relevant national security authorities in accordance with the laws".

-Canada extradition agreement, the Global Times said, adding that Canada could end the crisis immediately by freeing Meng unconditionally, rather than acting as the "51st state" of the United States. The CFO faces possible extradition to the USA but has been released on bail of $10 million Canadian dollars ($7.5 million).

"The unlawful detention of two Canadians is unacceptable, they ought to be returned", he said.

Spavor is director of Paektu Cultural Exchange, an office that arranges sports and educational exchanges with North Korea.

In a briefing on Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters the government has been unable to make contact with Spavor - whom she did not identify at the time - since he raised concerns about being questioned by Chinese authorities.

The Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission must also approve the proposed deal between the third and fourth largest US wireless carriers.

"They want to send a signal that they don't want outsiders in China to deal with North Korea".

The hashtag, "Canada Goose shares plummet", has gathered more than 220 million views as Chinese consumers called for the ban in the world's largest luxury market. China summoned the USA ambassador to lodge a formal protest.

Canada is ostensibly already suffering collateral damage from its weighty neighbour's tensions with China, despite Ottawa's insistence that Meng's arrest was unrelated to the trade spat.

Meng is now facing extradition to the United States.

"And I believe it is obvious that democratic countries, such as our partner, the U.S., do the same", she 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.

Canada's relationship with Donald Trump has reached a "new level of frustration" after the USA president's comments this week on the arrest of Huawei's chief financial officer, says a senior source.

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