China Says Trudeau Wasting Time Asking for Trump’s Help on Detainees

(Bloomberg) -- China’s government warned Canada not to waste its time hoping President Donald Trump will help in the release of two foreign nationals detained by the Asian powerhouse since last December.

The U.S. should delay a trade deal with China until the matters of the two Canadians, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, are resolved, and until the extradition case of a Huawei Technologies Co. executive being detained in Vancouver is also settled, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday.

Speaking at a press briefing, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said the two Canadians are facing national security-related charges, while the case of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is entirely Canada’s fault.

“Here’s some advice to the Canadian side: don’t waste your time and effort on ganging up on China or pressuring China for unrelated matters, because you will gain nothing from that,” Geng said, according to a transcript of the briefing on the finance ministry’s website. “As to the cases involving two Canadian citizens that Canada keeps bringing up, they are suspected of conducting activities that endangered China’s national security.”

In a French-language interview with Canadian broadcaster TVA on Thursday, Trudeau said the U.S. shouldn’t sign any “final” trade agreement with the first having those two matters resolved. “We have said the U.S. shouldn’t sign a final and complete agreement with China that doesn’t settle the question of Meng Wanzhou and the two Canadians,” Trudeau said.

Kovrig was detained last December along with Spavor, a fellow Canadian who had organized trips to North Korea, days after Huawei’s Meng -- daughter of Huawei’s billionaire founder -- was arrested by Canadian authorities in Vancouver in response to a U.S. extradition request. The pair were formally arrested on charges related to the theft of state secrets.

China has repeatedly denied a link between the detentions and Huawei. Canada has asked the U.S. to intervene in the matter of the two detained Canadians.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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