Diplomats have visited a Canadian think tank expert whose detention in China is believed to be an attempt to pressure Canada to release Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.
Canadian consular officials visited with Michael Kovrig on Monday, the country’s diplomatic service said in an emailed message. No details were given in keeping with privacy rules.
Chinese official media have accused Korvig, a former diplomat and Asia expert at the International Crisis Group, of acting with Canadian businessman Michael Spavor to steal state secrets.
Both were arrested on Dec. 10 after Meng was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1 at the request of U.S. authorities who want her extradited to face fraud charges.
In its statement, Global Affairs Canada said it was concerned about the men’s “arbitrary” detentions and called for their immediate release.
Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, is accused of lying to banks about the company’s dealings with Iran in violation of U.S. trade sanctions. Her attorney has argued that comments by U.S. President Donald Trump suggest the case against her is politically motivated.
Washington has pressured other countries to limit use of Huawei’s technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft of information.
China and the U.S. are currently embroiled in a trade dispute that has beleaguered global financial markets.
Another Canadian held in China, Robert Schellenberg, was re-sentenced to death in a drug case following Meng’s detention. His case is currently under appeal.