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U.S. secretary of state takes aim at China over diplomatic feud with Canada

OTTAWA — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is taking direct aim at how China has tied the detention of two Canadians there to the arrest in Canada of a Chinese tech executive, saying the issues are not “morally similar” in any respect.

Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been held in China since shortly after Canada arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the request of American authorities.

Meng is awaiting extradition to the U.S. to face allegations of fraud in violating Iran sanctions.

China said Thursday that the fate of the two Canadians, and the increasing difficulties in China-Canada relations, is Canada’s fault and linked to Meng’s detention.

At a press conference in Ottawa, Pompeo said China’s arbitrary detention of the two Canadians was fundamentally different than Canada’s decision to use its due process in Meng’s extradition case.

He said U.S. President Donald Trump made clear his country’s concern about China’s behaviour in a recent meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

American officials have made the case to Chinese counterparts while the U.S. is engaged in “other diplomatic activity” to make the case for Kovrig and Spavor.

The Canadian Press

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