In this June 11, 2020, file photo, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the State Department in Washington. Pompeo is calling on China to release two Canadian men that he says face “groundless” charges of spying. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Yuri Gripas/Pool via AP

Pompeo calls on China to release two Michaels, says U.S. stands with Canada

The two men were arrested in December 2018, nine days after Canada detained Meng Wanzhou

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling on China to release two Canadian men that he says face “groundless” charges of spying.

Chinese authorities announced the charges against Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor on Friday, after they had spent more than 550 days in prison without access to lawyers or family.

Since January, China has prevented Canadian diplomats from visiting Kovrig and Spavor, citing COVID-19 restrictions.

The two men were arrested in December 2018, nine days after Canada detained Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou on an American extradition warrant.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday Chinese authorities “directly linked” Meng’s case with Kovrig’s and Spavor’s, and reiterated the government’s long held position that China has “arbitrarily detained” them.

Pompeo says the U.S. is deeply concerned by China’s decision to formally charge Kovrig and Spavor.

“These charges are politically motivated and completely groundless. The United States stands with Canada in calling on Beijing for the immediate release of the two men and rejects the use of these unjustified detentions to coerce Canada,” Pompeo said in a statement on Monday.

“Additionally, we echo Canada’s call for immediate consular access to its two citizens, in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, as China has prohibited such access for almost six months, and the world has no knowledge of the two Canadians’ condition.”

READ MORE: China charges ‘two Michaels’ with spying in Huawei-linked case

Meng, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, is living in luxury Vancouver home while her extradition hearing wends its way through a British Columbia court.

The United States wants to prosecute Meng for fraud, alleging she lied to banks in Hong Kong about her company’s connections with Iran, which could possibly violate U.S. sanctions.

A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said Monday that his country does not arbitrarily detain people, and that Trudeau’s Friday remarks were “irresponsible.”

Last month, the B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled the allegations against Meng could constitute a crime in Canada. That meant Meng’s case remains before the court, unresolved.

Last week, Meng’s lawyers accused the Americans of misleading the B.C. court and said they are seeking a stay in the proceedings.

Mike Blanchfield, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CanadaChinaUSA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Fundraising begins to bring back Mountainview Lodge bus

The bus went out of use about two years ago, isolating many seniors in the Kitimat community.

Police investigate July 2 homicide in Houston

Man succumbed to injuries at Pearson Road residence

Water fights and food trucks: Kitimat residents celebrate Canada Day with sun and smiles

Celebrations still brought smiles and laughs, even if the day was a little different than usual

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

Community infrastructure funding announced for 24 Northern B.C. projects

Recipients include municipalities, First Nations and not-for-profits

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Most Read