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Second Canadian Questioned by Chinese Authorities, Canadian FM Freeland Says

© AP Photo / Bullit Marquez, POOLCanadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Ottawa is aware of a second Canadian questioned by Chinese authorities and is working to locate him, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said during a press conference.

"We are aware of a Canadian who got in touch with us because he was being asked questions by Chinese authorities," Freeland told reporters on Wednesday. "We have not been able to make contact with him since he let us know about this. We are working very hard to ascertain his whereabouts and we have also raised this case with Chinese authorities."

On Monday, Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat who now serves as a North East Asia senior adviser to transnational non-profit organization International Crisis Group, was detained in China, less than a week after Canada announced the arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou.

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Freeland said the Canadian government is working to get Kovrig counselor access, which is the first step to better understand the situation.

She added the arrest is of particular concern taking into account that Kovrig is a former employee of the Canadian foreign ministry.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday it had no information related to the detention of Kovrig so far. It noted, however, that the International Crisis Group was not registered in China.

Hours later Reuters reported citing a Chinese outlet that a Canadian Michael Spavor was being investigated in China on suspicion of harming China's national security.

Earlier Freeland said the detention of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was not politically motivated and was in compliance with US-Canada extradition agreement.

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"Meng was arrested under the extradition treaty that exists between Canada and the United States. There was no political involvement," Freeland told reporters on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Meng was released on $7.5 million bail and was ordered to wear a GPS ankle tracker. Canadian authorities arrested Meng at the request of the United States on December 1.

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Freeland said she has spoken with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about Meng’s case and told him the Huawei executive would be treated fairly in Canadian courts.

Freeland noted that Ottawa remains in constant contact with Chinese authorities regarding her case and will keep Beijing up to date regarding further judicial process.

Freeland said it is incumbent on Washington to "ensure that any extradition request is about ensuring that justice is done" and "is not politicized or used for any other purpose."

Meng was detained in Vancouver on suspicion of failing to comply with US sanctions against Iran. The Chinese Foreign Ministry called on Ottawa to immediately release Meng. Huawei, in its turn, said it was unaware of any wrongdoing on the part of its chief financial officer.

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