Canada’s ambassador to China meets with second detained Canadian Michael Spavor
Canada’s ambassador to China has met with Michael Spavor, the second Canadian man detained in China last week in the wake of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’s arrest in Vancouver.
“Today, Canada was granted consular access to Michael Spavor. Ambassador [John] McCallum met with him today,” Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Richard Walker told Global News in an emailed statement.
“Canadian consular officials continue to provide consular services to him and his family and will continue to seek further access to Mr. Spavor.”
The meeting came two days after Ambassador McCallum was granted access to meet with Michael Kovrig, who was detained last week.
Following the Kovrig meeting, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had said that Canada was pushing for a meeting with Spavor, and was expecting to be granted access shortly.
Kovrig and Spavor were picked up in China days after the RCMP arrested tech exec Meng in Vancouver at the behest of U.S. authorities. American authorities are seeking Meng’s extradition to the U.S. to face charges of fraud and violating trade sanctions against Iran.
China says the pair were arrested on suspicion of posing a threat to national security.
Observers say their detention is a classic case of retaliation, although Chinese officials have not linked the arrests to that of Meng, who was released on bail last week.
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It has been reported that China’s secretive Ministry of State Security is handling the Spavor and Kovrig cases.
A source with knowledge of Chinese-Canadian relations said Canada should expect China to carry out further acts as revenge for the arrest of Meng.
It’s not clear where exactly the Calgary-born Spavor is detained or where the meeting took place. Global Affairs said it cannot disclose any further information at this time.
Consular access typically involves assessing the well-being of the individual, offering them guidance on the legal process of the country, enabling them to communicate with their family and facilitating access to medical attention if needed.
It also involves ascertaining the reasoning for and the circumstances behind the individual’s detention.
Lu Shaye, China’s ambassador to Canada, hasn’t commented on their situation.
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Spavor, an entrepreneur, has been working in Northeast Asia for nearly two decades and has worked with North Korea for over 10 years, according to the website of his organization, Paektu Cultural Exchange.
In his capacity running the organization, Spavor helped organize the high-profile visits of former NBA star Dennis Rodman to North Korea, the website says, and he even befriended North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un.
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— With files from Sam Cooper
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