Pompeo calls on China to release two detained Canadians after ‘unfounded’ accusations

IN statement On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington was “extremely concerned” about the decision to file espionage charges against Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been in custody in China since 2018.

“These accusations are politically motivated and completely unfounded,” Pompeo said. “The United States stands with Canada in calling on Beijing to release the two of them immediately and reject the use of those unjustified detentions to coerce Canada.”

U.S. prosecutors want Meng to be tried on multiple charges, including bank fraud and violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Late last month, a Canadian judge ruled that extradition proceedings against her could continue, in what Chinese officials called the country a “serious political incident.”

In a few weeks, new charges were announced against Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat and NGO worker, and Spavor, who founded a North Korean travel company.

The Chinese legal system is considered by the ruling Communist Party and is known for its extremely high belief rate.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Friday that the evidence against the two Canadians was “solid” and that “the facts are clear”.

Zhao denied reports that the two men were denied access to consular assistance, saying visits had been suspended due to a coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to CNN last year, Guy Saint-Jacques, who was Canada’s ambassador to China from 2012 to 2016, said the men’s visits were very limited and they did not have access to lawyers or family visits.

“In both cases, they receive consular visits once a month, for exactly 30 minutes, with someone there following the entire discussion,” he said. “It mostly serves to inform about their family and give books and other reading material. It’s very difficult for them, they wait and have no idea when and how they might be released.”

Pompeo said in a statement that Washington reiterated “Canada’s call for direct consular access of its two citizens, in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, because China has banned such access for almost six months and the world has no knowledge of them.” Canadians’.

In Washington where Chinese falconry was implied, Pompeo emerged as Beijing’s harsh voice, writing Chinese moves in the South China Sea and Hong Kong, as well as treating Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.
After a meeting with Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi in Hawaii last week – of which several details have been released – Pompeo he called on European leaders “take off the golden blinds of economic ties and see that China’s challenge is not just at the door, but in every capital, in every neighborhood, in every province.”

“Europe is facing the Chinese challenge, as is the United States, and so are our friends from South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia,” Pompeo said.

His hard line made him a picture of disgust in the Chinese media, where the editorials are regularly fence against him, Zhao, a foreign ministry spokesman last week, accused him the existence of a “deep-rooted Cold War mentality and ideological bias”.

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