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US ambassador: Arrests of Canadians in China unacceptable

The U.S. ambassador to Canada said Saturday her country is “deeply concerned” about China’s “unlawful” detention of two Canadians

Feb 10

13:47
2019

The U.S. ambassador to Canada said Saturday her country is “deeply concerned” about China’s “unlawful” detention of two Canadians.

Ambassador Craft said in a statement to reporters the arrests of ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor are “unacceptable” and urged China to end the arbitrary detentions.

It is her first public comments on the cases. China detained the two Canadians on Dec. 10 in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Chinese executive Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested Dec. 1 at the request of U.S. authorities.

Meng is the chief financial officer of the Chinese tech giant Huawei and the daughter of its founder. The U.S. wants her extradited to face charges that she committed fraud by misleading banks about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran.

Craft said the U.S. Department of Justice’s criminal case against Meng is based solely on the evidence and the law.

“The United States appreciates Canada’s steadfast commitment to the rule of law,” she said.

Craft made no mention of China’s planned execution of a third Canadian. China re-sentenced a convicted Canadian drug smuggler to death after the Meng arrest as part of an apparent campaign of intimidation and retribution against Canada.

Some analysts have said the U.S. response to China’s arrests of the two Canadians has been muted. President Donald Trump himself has not commented on the Canadians. But U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has, saying China ought to release them.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders and the State Department have also issued statements of support. “We urge China to end all forms of arbitrary and unlawful detentions and to respect the protections and freedoms of all individuals in accordance with China’s international commitments,” Craft said.