Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently expressed his “disappointment” with the Chinese government and their decision to file espionage against two of his nationals Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been held in China for 18 months.

During a press briefing on Friday, June 19, Trudeau vowed to continue to fight for Kovrig and Spavor. Their espionage charges seem to be directly linked to the detention of a Chinese telecom executive by Canada.

“We are using a wide range of public and private pressures to ensure that everything is being done to get these Michaels home,” Trudeau said while addressing the media from Chelsea, Quebec.

The decision indicating the charges against the two Canadians was announced by the Chinese prosecutors on Friday. While Kovrig has been charged on suspicion of spying for state secrets and intelligence, Spavor has been charged on suspicion of spying for a foreign entity and illegally providing state secrets, according to reports published in the media following the announcement.

“From the very beginning, we have highlighted … that we will not and must not and cannot interfere in the independence of our judiciary in this country,” Trudeau said. “The Chinese authorities have directly linked the cases of the two Michaels to the judicial proceedings against Ms. Meng, which is extremely disappointing.”

In December 2019, Canada detained Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the request of U.S. authorities. The current charges against the two Canadians are being seen as a retaliation by China against its own citizen’s arrest in China.

Meng is facing charges over allegations that she violated U.S. sanctions against Iran. The Chinese government has constantly protested against her arrest and has even demanded release several times.

During his briefing, Trudeau further added that he will continue to put pressure on the Chinese government to release Kovrig and Spavor to stop the arbitrary detention of the two Canadian nationals.

justin trudeau canada election
Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau pledged to legalize marijuana during his political campaign, as well as promote numerous reforms to improve the lives of immigrants and refugees. Now that he’s won the election, his party will try to put these proposals into practice. Above: Trudeau gives his victory speech after Canada's federal election in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

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