Canadian officials make third visit to citizen detained in China

FILE PHOTO: Canadian businessman Michael Spavor arrives next to the former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman (not pictured) after a trip to North Korea, at Beijing Capital International Airport, Beijing, China Jan. 13, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian diplomats on Friday paid their third visit to Michael Spavor, one of two citizens detained in China after the arrest of a senior Huawei Technologies Co Ltd executive in Vancouver, Ottawa said.

Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig were picked up by Chinese authorities in early December. Officials say they are being questioned extensively.

“The Canadian government remains deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of these two Canadians since December 2018 and continues to call for their immediate release,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Diplomats had previously seen Spavor on Dec 16 and Jan 8.

The visit was the first since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fired Canada’s ambassador to Beijing a week ago for remarks he made about the case of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, who faces extradition to the United States.

China insists that Canada released Meng immediately but Ottawa says it cannot interfere in the matter.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama