Canada’s ambassador is granted access to ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig, held by China amid Huawei furore – but what of Michael Spavor?
- Ambassador John McCallum met Michael Kovrig in Beijing, but Canada has yet to see Michael Spavor, a second national held by China
- Beijing says both are suspected of security breaches, but their detention is widely seen as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei CFO Sabrina Meng Wanzhou
Canada’s ambassador to China has been granted consular access to Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat held by Beijing, according to a statement released by Ottawa on Friday. Kovrig was arrested during a visit to the Chinese capital on Monday.
“Ambassador [John] McCallum met with him in Beijing,” said a statement from Canada’s foreign ministry, adding that Ottawa was pressing for access to Michael Spavor, a second national detained in China.
The pair were arrested for what Beijing has said is suspicion of threatening its national security, but is widely believed to be retaliation against Canada’s December 1 arrest of Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer, Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, at the request of the US.
Meng was arrested while changing planes in Vancouver, outraging China and sparking a diplomatic stand-off between the North American allies and Beijing.
On Tuesday a Canadian judge ordered her released on C$10 million (US$7.5 million) bail, pending a US extradition hearing.
The United States has accused her of lying to bankers about the use of a covert subsidiary to sell to Iran in breach of sanctions. If convicted, she faces more than 30 years in prison.
More to follow