Freeland, British counterpart share views on Canadians detained in China

TORONTO — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her British counterpart presented a united front Tuesday when it came to voicing concerns about two Canadians detained in China.

Freeland said the cases of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor remain a priority as Canada navigates a “challenging” set of circumstances, while U.K. Secretary of Foreign Affairs Dominic Raab said his country supported Canadian efforts on the matter.

“The situation continues to be challenging and we’re just going to keep working at it,” Freeland told reporters during an appearance in Toronto.

Freeland reiterated that a meeting she had Friday with her Chinese counterpart during a summit of Southeast Asian Nations in Bangkok, Thailand, was a sign of progress.

“It was a positive step that I was able to have a face to face meeting with my Chinese counterpart and we both committed to continue to keep the lines of communication open,” the minister said, adding that she had been speaking regularly with the families of Kovrig and Spavor.

Freeland also thanked the United Kingdom for its “strong and public stand” on what she called a difficult issue.

Raab, for his part, said Britain was worried about the two detained Canadians.

“We share Canada’s concerns about the detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in China,” he said.

China detained Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Spavor, a businessman, last December on allegations of espionage.

The detentions are largely viewed as retaliation for the RCMP’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. Meng is awaiting extradition to the U.S. to face allegations of fraud in violating Iran sanctions.

Global Affairs said on Monday that consular officials met for the 10th time with Kovrig, but did not provide details on the visit due to privacy provisions.

Meanwhile, Freeland and Raab said they also discussed shared concerns over Brexit, among other issues.

Raab said Britain will be working with Canada to create a “seamless” Brexit transition in coming weeks, reaffirming the U.K. government will be leaving the European Union on Oct. 31 regardless of whether they come to an agreement with the EU.

Freeland

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Only 13 new COVID-19 cases confirmed by Alberta gov’t Saturday

There’s currently only two active cases in province’s central zone

Food Truck Fridays to start new Drive and Dash events next week

Events will be held in Westerner Park parking lot Thursday evenings, Friday afternoons all June

Alberta gov’t to expand mental health supports

The Government of Alberta says a $21.6-million investment will expand online resources… Continue reading

City of Red Deer encouraged residents to participate in Food Bank Ninja Challenge

The City of Red Deer is encouraging residents to participate in a… Continue reading

READER VIDEO: American White Pelicans spotted in Red Deer River

A Red Deer Advocate reader spotted a group of American White Pelicans… Continue reading

Protesters rally in Toronto against anti-black, Indigenous racism

TORONTO — Thousands of people are taking part in a rally on… Continue reading

Another COVID-19 case reported in northern New Brunswick on Saturday

CAMPBELLTON, N.B. — People from a city in northern New Brunswick lined… Continue reading

B.C. sees second day in a row with no COVID-19 deaths as schools ready to reopen

VICTORIA — British Columbia announced no new deaths from COVID-19 for the… Continue reading

UN sets pandemic voting rules for Canada’s Security Council campaign

OTTAWA — The United Nations has confirmed that the election for non-permanent… Continue reading

Police watchdog investigating death of Richmond man

RICHMOND, B.C. — British Columbia’s police watchdog has been called in to… Continue reading

COVID-19 cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a B.C. mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Tooting the importance of whistling

OK, so someone who tattles on another person is a whistleblower, and… Continue reading

Police see increase in speedy drivers on quieter streets during pandemic

Police across the country say they’ve been dealing with more complaints about loud, fast vehicles

Most Read