Chinese state media urges Canada to defy USA, free Huawei executive

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a year end interview with The Canadian Press on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday

The Beijing News newspaper reported Wednesday that Kovrig was under investigation on suspicion of "engaging in activities that endanger China's national security" - a phrase often used in espionage cases.

"We discussed China and the case of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, building on a conversation that secretary Mike Pompeo and I began soon after her arrest", Freeland said during a news conference.

President Trump, however, has said publicly he's willing to intervene in the case if it would help further his country's interests with China on security or trade - a statement that many saw as tainting the extradition process.

His employer, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, said he was detained by the Beijing bureau of Chinese state security Monday night, but it has not received any information since then.

Meng is the Huawei executive arrested at the airport in Vancouver on December 1 and possibly headed to the United States via extradition to face charges of bank fraud and violating USA sanctions against Iran. Hu said Canada "must do more to restore [Meng's] freedom" beyond the businesswoman's release on $10 million Canadian (€6.6 million) bail on Tuesday.

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

But Canadian diplomatic experts have said they have no doubt the two cases are linked.

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

"Conversely, since the Canadian government's wrongful detention of Ms Meng Wanzhou under U.S. direction, many Chinese are weighing whether it's safe to travel to Canada". The CFO faces possible extradition to the US but has been released on bail of $10 million Canadian dollars ($7.5 million).

As far as his business was concerned, Spavor ran the Paektu Cultural Exchange in Dandong, which is described as a "non-profit social enterprise dedicated to facilitating sustainable cooperation, cross-cultural exchanges, tourism, trade, and economic exchanges" involving North Korea.

Huawei CFO freed on bail ahead of extradition
Some organizations have even threatened to punish staff members caught with Apple devices , according to CNN . State Department was considering issuing a travel warning for its citizens, two sources said on Tuesday.

Canadian officials have not been able to contact Spavor "since he let us know he was being questioned by Chinese authorities", Canadian Global Affairs spokesman Guillaume Bérubé said Wednesday.

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

Several countries around the world have now banned (or are trying to ban) Huawei's networking equipment, among fears that they could enable a backdoor for the Chinese government to conduct surveillance.

The shift by the national market leaders, both partly state owned, follows Huawei's exclusion on national security grounds by some USA allies, led by Australia, from building their fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks.

Canada's foreign ministry said its ambassador to Beijing, John McCallum, was granted consular access to Kovrig on Friday and is pressing for access to Spavor.

Asked whether Meng's arrest and Kovrig's subsequent detention an ocean apart might be merely coincidence, Guy Saint-Jacques, Canada's former ambassador to Beijing, was clear.

Meng is now facing extradition to the United States.

The decision to arrest Meng earlier this month to aid a USA extradition effort has made Canada the focus of China's ire, even as President Donald Trump's trade war sits at the center of the dispute.

Richard said the security concerns were legitimate: "I absolutely understand that all of our countries, and the French authorities, are preoccupied".

If there's something Canadians of all political stripes can agree on, it's that their fellow citizens should not be unjustly detained on foreign soil, says Canada's leader of the official Opposition.

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