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

Court strikes down Sidney’s denial of proposed cannabis store

Justice Jennifer Power orders municipality to reconsider application and pay court costs

VicPD seeking witnesses for fatal crash on Hillside Avenue

A pedestrian was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries, where she later died

VicPD searching for three men in connection to random assault that put two in hospital

If you see these men you’re asked to call VicPD’s non-emergency line

Public welcomed back to Sidney Spit ferry and camping ground

Service opens July 20 with new ferry contractor and other pandemic-related changes

B.C. ends short experiment with growler fills at restaurants

Province extends take-out sales of six-packs, wine

21 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in B.C. as virus ‘silently circulates’ in broader community

Health officials urge British Columbians to enjoy summer safely as surge continues

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 13

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Tough time for tree fruits as some B.C. farm products soar

Province reports record 2019 sales, largely due to cannabis

‘Let’s all do a self-check’: Okanagan mayor reacts to racist vandalism targeting local family

Home of Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was targeted on evening of July 13

Province agrees to multimillion-dollar payout for alleged victims of Kelowna social worker

Robert Riley Saunders is accused of misappropriating funds of children — often Indigenous — in his care

Feds fund safe drug supply pilot program for Cowichan

The opioid overdose crisis continues to be one of the most serious public health crises

B.C. businessman David Sidoo gets 3 months behind bars for college admissions scam

Sidoo was sentenced for hiring someone take the SATs in place of his two sons

PHOTOS: Inside a newly-listed $22M mega-mansion on ALR land in B.C.

The large home, located on ALR land, is one of the last new mansions to legally be built on ALR land

Most Read