Premier Trudeau Takes 'Careful Steps' to Set Free 3 Canadians Arrested in China

Published December 20th, 2018 - 09:30 GMT
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Shutterstock)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Shutterstock)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government will maintain calm and take careful steps to secure the release of reportedly three Canadian citizens arrested in China.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Trudeau said “political posturing” would not work, amid a diplomatic dispute with China that started when a Chinese telecom executive was arrested in Vancouver on US-filed charges.

“Political posturing or political statements aren’t necessarily going to contribute. They might actually hinder Canadians’ release. We’re going to take every situation carefully and seriously,” Trudeau said at the presser.

On December 1, Canadian authorities arrested Chinese national Meng Wanzhou, 46, who is the deputy chairwoman of the board and chief financial officer (CFO) of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, in Vancouver, over her alleged violation of US sanctions against Iran.

Later, and over a fairly short period of time, Canada said three of its nationals had been arrested in China, but Ottawa never indicated that those arrests had been linked to Meng’s.

A former Canadian diplomat, Michael Kovrig, was arrested during a trip to the Chinese capital on December 10, when another Canadian national, Michael Spavor, a businessman based in the northern Chinese city of Dandong, was also detained. Canadian Ambassador to China John McCallum has already met with both.

Earlier on Wednesday, Canada’s National Post newspaper, citing the Canadian Foreign Ministry, reported that a third national had also been arrested in China. The Canadian government has not yet disclosed the identity of the third individual but the Canadian daily said the person was a Canadian woman teaching English in China and that she had been arrested because of “visa complications.”

Trudeau said in his Wednesday remarks that the situation needed careful handling.

“Canadians understand that even though political posturing might be satisfactory in the short term to make yourself... feel like you’re stomping on a table and doing something significant, it may not directly contribute to the outcome we all want, which is for these Canadians to come home safely,” the Canadian prime minister said.

Some have speculated that the detentions are in retaliation for the arrest of Meng; however, Beijing — which has only confirmed two arrests — has said the individuals were taken into custody over “national security” matters.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Trudeau said he was asking Beijing for more information on the detentions, adding that the third case was “a very separate case” from the two previous ones.

On December 12, Meng was released on a bail of 7.4 million dollars by a Canadian court in Vancouver, where she owns two homes. She will be under surveillance 24 hours a day and must wear an electronic ankle tag while she is waiting to learn if she will be extradited to the US.

Meng is due in court on February 6.


This article has been adapted from its original source.

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