December 21, 2018 / 10:11 PM / 3 months ago

U.S. calls on China to release detained Canadians

WASHINGTON, Dec 21 (Reuters) - The United States on Friday called on Beijing to release two Canadians detained in what are widely believed to be tit-for-tat arrests related to the high-profile detention in Canada of an executive of a major Chinese corporation.

China last week detained two Canadians - Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat and an adviser with the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank, and businessman Michael Spavor - after Canadian police arrested Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, on Dec 1.

In the United States, State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said that Meng, who is also the daughter of the company’s founder, was facing a “fair, unbiased and transparent legal proceeding.”

“We also express our deep concern for the Chinese government’s detention of two Canadians earlier this month and call for their immediate release,” he said in a statement.

The United States has sought to extradite Meng, who is out on bail in Canada, on charges of misleading multinational banks about Iran-linked transactions, putting the banks at risk of violating U.S. sanctions.

Huawei is the world’s biggest supplier of telecoms network equipment and second-biggest smartphone seller. The United States has been looking since at least 2016 into whether Huawei shipped U.S.-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of U.S. export and sanctions laws, Reuters reported in April. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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