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

Just Posted

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

BC Timber Sales’ operations on the North Island and Central Coast to be audited

The Forest Practices Board randomly chose the region to check for compliance to legislation

BC Ferries Sailing Cancellations

Prince Rupert - Haida Gwaii - Northern Adventure

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Vancouver Island family overwhelmed with 14 Lab puppies

Litter may be one of the biggest ever

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

First full day of B.C.’s election campaign begins amid COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and the Green party’s Sonia Furstenau criticized John Horgan’s decision

Most Read