U.S. issues new China travel warning amid heightened tensions

Minnie Murray
January 7, 2019

Earlier on Thursday, China's top prosecutor said the two Canadians had "without a doubt" violated the law. "From January to December, the American people that travelled to China reached 2.3 million, higher than the number of Chinese people travelling to the United States", said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang.

"It's not advancing any objective other than the goal of further raising doubts about China's reliability as a country that's going to follow the rule of law". Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould says she takes her "extradition responsibilities and obligations very seriously" and that the final decision on extraditions lies with her. Freeland warns any comments made in the United States could be used by Meng's lawyers before Canadian courts, which would have to judge their relevance in deciding whether to follow through on the American extradition request.

Separately, two Canadian citizens have been detained in China since December as relations between the two countries worsened.

The U.S State Department has called for the release of the two Canadians, while Germany, France, the European Union and Australia have also issued supportive statements.

"China's economy is facing some headwinds and so is going to want to attract businesspeople, is going to want to show it's open for normal business", he said. Canadian consular officials saw them once each in mid-December.

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Canada has said several times it saw no explicit link between the arrest of Meng, the daughter of Huawei's founder, and the detentions of Kovrig and Spavor. He said such figures could answer the question of whether China was safe for foreigners.

Malley said he won't speculate on why Kovrig was detained, only to say it has nothing to do with his work as an analyst for the Crisis Group.

Those comments don't offer any new information for Kovrig's distressed family and friends, who still don't know why or for how long he's being detained, said Robert Malley, president of the Crisis Group.

In a statement, the Canadian government stated the 13 detention included Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor and Sarah McIver, and "at least" eight of those had been since released.

Canada has called the detentions "deeply concerning" and "arbitrary", and demanded the immediate release of the two men. She says Kovrig and Spavor's rights are being respected in custody. He says the investigation is also following the rule of law, but doesn't provide more details about the allegations.

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