Washington [US], February 11 (ANI): The United States on Wednesday (local time) rejected China's use of coercion as a political tool and called on the People's Republic of China (PRC) to end the 'unacceptable detention of two Canadian citizens.
"When it comes to the detention of Micheal Spavor and Michael Kovrig, we continue to publicly call on the PRC to end the arbitrary and unacceptable detention of these Canadian citizens. We reject the PRC's use of coercion as political tool," said US State Department spokesperson Ned Price in a press briefing.
This comes after US State Secretary Antony Blinken had a telephonic conversation with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi during which he conveyed that Washington will continue to stand up for human rights and democratic values, including in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, and will hold Beijing accountable for its abuses of the international system.
Last year, Canada had walked away from the free trade talks with Beijing amid souring relations over a Huawei executive's arrest and the detention of two Canadians in apparent retaliation.
According to Canadian foreign minister Francois Philippe Champagne, Beijing's "arbitrary detention" of former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor on suspicions of espionage, in response to the December 2018 arrest of telecom's giant Huawei's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on the US warrant during a stopover in Vancouver are the reasons behind the shelving of the talks.
Relations between Ottawa and Beijing soured after Canadian authorities detained Wanzhou in 2018 at the request of the US, which was followed by the arrests of two Canadian nationals on charges of espionage in China, reported Sputnik.
The tense relationship has been further exacerbated by Canada's condemnation of the newly enacted Chinese law on national security in Hong Kong and a suspension of some bilateral agreements with the special administrative region.
Beijing has said that it reserves the right to respond to any interference on Canada's part and the Canadian side will be held accountable for all the consequences. (ANI)