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Archive for Asia

Newsline: Canada’s ambassador to China meets with second detained Canadian

Canada’s ambassador to China has met with the second Canadian detained in China on suspicion of threatening national security, Canada’s foreign ministry said. The ministry said Ambassador John McCallum had met with Michael Spavor, a business consultant, two days after meeting with another detained Canadian, Michael Kovrig, a think tank employee. “Canadian consular officials continue to provide consular services to him and his family and will continue to seek further access to Mr Spavor,” the ministry said. China arrested two Canadians after Ottawa detained a senior executive from tech giant Huawei at the behest of the United States. “We are being absolutely clear on standing up for our citizens who have been detained, trying to figure out why, trying to work with China to demonstrate that this not acceptable,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to Toronto’s Citytv. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also branded the arrests “unacceptable”. Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer at Huawei, was released on bail in Vancouver Tuesday pending extradition to the US. She is accused of violating US sanctions on Iran. Beijing threatened Canada with “grave consequences” if she was not freed.



Newsline: Pakistan Complains To Iranian Ambassador About Militants’ Border Attack

Islamabad has lodged a formal protest with Tehran about an attack by militants who killed six Pakistani paramilitary troops as they were patrolling a mountainous area near the Iranian border. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry says it summoned Iran’s ambassador to demand that Tehran take action against the armed group responsible for the attack in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan. Pakistani authorities say about 30 militants attacked a convoy of forces from Pakistan’s Frontier Corps on December 14, killing six soldiers and wounding 14. Islamabad says four attackers were killed in the clash. There was no immediate claim of responsible for the ambush along a mountainous stretch of road in Balochistan Province’s Kech district. Neither Pakistan nor Iran has identified who they believe was responsible and there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Iran on December 15 condemned the attack and vowed to cooperate with Islamabad.


Newsline: Canada’s ambassador is granted access to ex-diplomat held by China

Canada’s ambassador to China has been granted consular access to Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat held by Beijing, according to a statement released by Ottawa on Friday. Kovrig was arrested during a visit to the Chinese capital on Monday. “Ambassador [John] McCallum met with him in Beijing,” said a statement from Canada’s foreign ministry, adding that Ottawa was pressing for access to Michael Spavor, a second national detained in China. The pair were arrested for what Beijing has said is suspicion of threatening its national security, but is widely believed to be retaliation against Canada’s December 1 arrest of Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer, Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, at the request of the US. Meng was arrested while changing planes in Vancouver, outraging China and sparking a diplomatic stand-off between the North American allies and Beijing. On Tuesday a Canadian judge ordered her released on C$10 million (US$7.5 million) bail, pending a US extradition hearing.


Newsline: Detention Of 2 Canadians Raises Stakes In China-U.S.-Canada Diplomatic Dispute

China on Thursday confirmed it has detained two Canadian men, raising the stakes in a three-way international dispute over the case of a Chinese telecoms executive facing possible extradition from Canada to the United States. Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said entrepreneur Michael Spavor and former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig were taken into custody on Monday on suspicion of “engaging in activities that endanger the national security” of China. Lu said Canada was informed about the detentions, but declined to say whether the men have been provided with lawyers. He said the cases are being handled separately by local bureaus of the national intelligence agency in Beijing, where Kovrig was picked up, and the northeastern city of Dandong, where Spavor had been living. “The legal rights of the two Canadians are being safeguarded,” Lu told reporters at a daily briefing. The two cases ratchet up pressure on Canada, which is holding Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies. She was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1 but released on bail. The U.S. has requested her extradition to face charges of bank fraud.


Newsline: Detention of former Canadian diplomat in China being taken ‘very seriously’ by Canada, US

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is taking the detention of a former Canadian diplomat in China ‘very seriously.’ Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale also weighed in, saying “we are deeply concerned by the situation.” Canada’s Global Affairs Department says it’s aware of the detention of a Canadian citizen in China and has raised the case with the Chinese government. The department says in a statement it is “seized with this case” and is providing consular assistance to the family of the Canadian. It declined to say more or state his name. But a person familiar with the matter says former diplomat Michael Kovrig was detained Monday night in Beijing during one of his regular visits to the city. The detention follows Chinese warnings to Canada of consequences for its recent arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver’s airport. A State Department spokesman says the U.S. is concerned about the detention of a former Canadian diplomat in China. State Department spokesman Robert Palladino says the U.S. condemns “all forms of arbitrary detention” — a comment that followed a question Tuesday about the detention of former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig in Beijing during a visit to Beijing. Palladino noted that the U.S. travel advisory for China suggests that anyone visiting the country exercise caution based on potential for American citizens who are visiting or residing there to be arbitrarily interrogated and detained.


Newsline: Former Canadian diplomat reportedly arrested in China

A former Canadian diplomat reportedly has been arrested in China. The International Crisis Group said Tuesday it’s aware of reports that its North East Asia senior adviser Michael Kovrig has been detained. The Brussels-based non-governmental organization said in a statement that it’s doing everything possible to obtain additional information about Kovrig’s whereabouts and that it will work to ensure his prompt release. The Globe and Mail in Toronto and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported the arrest, citing unnamed sources. Reports of Kovrig’s detention come after China warned Canada of consequences for its recent arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver’s airport. It’s unclear if there’s any link between the cases. The International Crisis Group said Kovrig has been one of its full-time experts since February 2017.


Newsline: China Summons U.S. Ambassador Over Huawei CFO

The Chinese foreign ministry on Sunday summoned U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad to protest the detention of a senior tech executive by the Canadian authorities “at the unreasonable behest of the United States.” Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng demanded the release of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, who is accused by U.S. officials of attempting to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran. Meng, 46, was bound for Mexico when she was detained while changing planes in Vancouver, Canada, more than a week ago. Huawei is China’s largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment. Meng is also the daughter of the company’s founder. A Canadian bail hearing for Meng that began last week will continue Monday. Prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley wants her held without bail, saying she faces fraud charges in the U.S. that could result in a prison sentence of 30 years. Authorities say Huawei did business with Iran through a shell company in Hong Kong. Gibb-Carsley said Meng has been aware of the charges and avoided the U.S. for months – despite allowing her son to attend school in Boston.