Washington D.C. [USA], June 23 (ANI): The United States on Monday voiced concern over the China's decision to proceed with formal charges against two Canadian citizens for 'spying' and called for providing immediate consular access for their release.
Canadian citizens, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, were "arbitrary detained" and charged with spying by the Chinese regime.
"These charges are politically motivated and completely groundless. The United States stands with Canada in calling on Beijing for the immediate release of the two men and rejects the use of these unjustified detentions to coerce Canada," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
Pompeo urged Beijing to allow Canada for immediate consular access to its citizens to learn their conditions, adding such access has been prohibited for almost six months by China.
"Additionally, we echo Canada's call for immediate consular access to its two citizens, in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, as China has prohibited such access for almost six months, and the world has no knowledge of the two Canadians' condition," Pompeo added.
Former diplomat Kovrig and businessman Spavor have been detained in China since their arrest in December 2018.
The "two Michaels" as they are often referred to are widely seen to be pawns in a diplomatic row between the two countries that began with the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on December 1, 2018.
Beijing was incensed over Meng's arrest and demanded her immediate release, but Canada did not comply.
Ten days later, the two Michaels were arrested. The pair have languished in jail for 18 months without official charges but the actions Friday cleared the way for a formal trial over espionage charges.(ANI)