Canada’s Foreign Ministry officials led by Amb. Dominic Barton, Canadian Ambassador to China were given “on-site virtual consular access” to Michael Kovrig on thrusday. Canadian Foreign Ministry stated that the Canadian government remains deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention of its two citizens by Chinese authorities since December 2018. Canada continuously calling for the immediate release of its citizens. Canadian Former Diplomat Michael Kovring and businessman Michael Spavor have been confined by Chinese government since Dec. 10, 2018. Their detention was carried out after, Canada detained Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou. Meng Wanzhou is also the daughter of the founder of the Chinese telecommunications equipment giant “Huawei”.
As per reports, Chinese government announced last year that it had charged the Michael Kovrig for spying on the state secrets and intelligence, while Michael Spavor was charged on suspicion of spying and illegally providing state secrets to a foreign entity.
In fact, the move came in response to the arrest of Ms. Meng Wanzhou by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) at the request of the United States on December 1, 2018. Presently, Meng has been charged with bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracies to commit bank and wire fraud by the United States government. According to court record, Wanzhou has been accused by the US government, for having close ties with the Hong Kong based shell company “Skycom Tech”, which tried to sell U.S. equipment to Iran, despite U.S. and European Union restrictions. Meng is likely to be deported to the United States in near future.
China termed these US allegations has political motivated and said that United States want to bring the Huawai down. Furthermore, China has awarded death penalty to a Canadian citizen, Schellenberg on charges of drug smuggling in Jan 2019.
The bilateral relations between China and Canada got too low due to arrests of each other citizens. The bilateral trade effected badly; China has blocked billions of dollars Canadian’s agricultural exports to China including Canadian canola seed, Soybeans meat and several other items. As per media report, Chinese fighter jets reportedly buzzed a Canadian warship in the East China Sea. China also issued travel advisory warning to its citizens for travel to Canada in 2019. Both countries remained at odds for last one year. It seems both China and Canada are also heading toward a trade war if they do not isolate trade relations from their political discourse.
On other hand, Canada also imposed ban on some Chinese good while citing alleged forced labour in the Xinjiang region. It also offered political asylum to the democracy protesters of Hong Kong, which was seriously noticed by the Chinese government. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Chinese policy as “coercive diplomacy”. Chinese Foreign Ministry asserted that Meng do not commit any crime in Canada, therefore, Canada has no right to detain her. China called for the immediate release of Meng to create conditions to bring Canada-China relations back on the track.
Apparently, both countries had struck into a controversy due to the pledge of USA. Canada had been caught in between USA and China, and situation led the both countries into serious confrontation. Presently, Meng is fighting the extradition to USA, the court decision is likely to be announced in coming weeks. If, she will be deported to the United States, China -Canada rift will get worsen in coming months.