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Michael Kovrig granted phone call by China with ill father amid coronavirus pandemic

Click to play video: 'Champagne says release of Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor should ‘not be linked’ to Meng Wanzhou detainment' Champagne says release of Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor should ‘not be linked’ to Meng Wanzhou detainment
After new charges were laid against Huawei and its CFO, Meng Wanzhou by the U.S., Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said on Friday that the current detainment by China of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor should "not be linked to anything," saying their detainment should have "nothing to do with these issues." He said in every meeting with his Chinese counterpart, their release has been the first thing he has raised – Feb 14, 2020

The Chinese embassy in Canada says Michael Kovrig has been allowed to have a telephone conversation with his father, who is very ill.

The embassy says in a statement that they allowed this for humanitarian reasons.

READ MORE: Canada’s House of Commons suspending for 5 weeks as officials battle coronavirus spread

The embassy says they have also provided better food to Kovrig and fellow Canadian detainee Michael Spavor to strengthen their immunity in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Kovrig, a diplomat on leave who was working with the International Crisis Group, and Spavor, an entrepreneur, have been imprisoned in China since December 2018 in what is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou nine days earlier.

Today’s Chinese statement also maintains the hardline take by Beijing since the events of December 2018, which have plunged Sino-Canadian relations to a new low.

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Click to play video: 'Canada raised detained Canadians with China in evacuation talks' Canada raised detained Canadians with China in evacuation talks
Canada raised detained Canadians with China in evacuation talks – Feb 7, 2020

It says Kovrig and Spavor are “suspected” of endangering China’s national security and their cases are being handled lawfully while the Canadian government “can not explain which law of Canada Ms. Meng Wanzhou violated.”

READ MORE: China won’t free the ‘two Michaels’ over Canada’s coronavirus help, experts say

The Canadian government maintains the two Michaels are being arbitrarily detained.

Meng was arrested by the RCMP on an extradition request from the U.S.

Officials in the U.S. have charged her and her company, Huawei, with dozens of counts of stealing corporate secrets and fraud.

Meng is out on bail and living in a luxury Vancouver home, as her extradition hearing remains before a British Columbia court.

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