Canada’s envoy to China decries Huawei arrest as U.S.-inspired

Andrew Cummings
December 14, 2018

China and Canada have since confirmed his arrest.

Lu said China provided "relevant information" to the Canadian consulate "without delay".

China has demanded the immediate release of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's CFO and the daughter of its founder.

She faces more than 30 years in jail if convicted, but was freed on C$10 million bail (US$7.5 million) on Tuesday night pending the outcome of an extradition hearing, which could take months, or even years, if appeals are made in the case.

Her case has set off a diplomatic furore among the three countries and complicated high-stakes U.S.

Earlier in the day, 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.

"We have raised this case directly with the Chinese authorities".

Kovrig was based in Hong Kong for ICG, working on foreign policy and security issues in the region, particularly on the Korean Peninsula.

He is believed to be one of the few Westerners to have met DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, and was instrumental in organizing a 2015 trip to North Korea by former National Basketball Association hall-of-famer Dennis Rodman - as well as other sports exchanges.

His last social media posts on Monday said he was en route to Seoul for a consulting job and meetings with friends, but he never arrived.

"Those who accuse China of detaining some person in retaliation for the arrest of Ms. Meng should first reflect on the actions of the Canadian side", he wrote. Many in the USA and Canada suspect it means "taken hostage until charges are dropped against Meng Wanzhou".

He is also under investigation on suspicion of "engaging in activities that endanger China's national security", a phrase often used in espionage cases, The Beijing News newspaper reported.

Pamela Goldsmith-Jones said the government has been in touch with former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig, but she wouldn't say if officials know where he is.

American authorities are seeking extradition so Meng can face fraud allegations related to alleged violations of global sanctions against Iran.

Meng's arrest has put Canada in the middle of growing trade tensions between the USA and China.

The United States and China have emphasized that China-U.S. trade talks are separate from the case against Meng, though President Donald Trump obliterated the distinction Tuesday, saying he'd intervene if it would help produce a trade agreement with China.

"It is incredibly important that we have an independent system where police agencies make decisions based on evidence and the rule of law and not political interference", Mr. Scheer said. "I believe that this situation demonstrates that Justin Trudeau's naive approach to relations with China isn't working".

Earlier this week, British Columbia's forestry ministry suspended the China leg of its Asian forestry trade mission due to the "international judicial process" at Huawei, according to a government statement.

The Chinese embassy in Ottawa loudly protested Meng's arrest as a violation of her human rights. Meng also cited health reasons for requesting bail. China summoned the USA ambassador to lodge a formal protest. The website for the organization says it is "a non-profit social enterprise" dedicated to cross-cultural exchanges, trade, and investment between North Korea and "international organizations, businesses, and individuals to promote greater peace, friendship, and understanding".

USA regulators planned to bar it from receiving US components that it depended on, effectively a corporate death sentence.

China called the USA ambassador to make a formal protest over the issue.

Trump restored access after ZTE agreed to pay a $1 billion fine, change its board and executives and install a team of US-selected compliance managers.

Other photographs taken at the time showed Spavor laughing and shaking hands with Kim Jong Un, and in February, he was given a front-row seat to a military parade that reportedly was off-limits to foreign media. "Let's see where we go from there".

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