China has allowed the Canadian ambassador to meet with a second Canadian citizen detained for reasons that are still unclear, the foreign ministry in Ottawa said.
Ambassador John McCallum spoke with Canadian business executive Michael Spavor on Sunday — two days after he met with another Canadian detainee, former diplomat Michael Kovrig.
A foreign ministry statement said Sunday the ambassador will continue providing consular services to Spavor and will seek further access to him.
China detained both men after Canadian police arrested senior Chinese telecom executive Meng Wanzhou earlier this month in Vancouver on a U.S. warrant.
Meng is out on bail awaiting possible extradition to the United States on charges of evading U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Canada denies Meng’s arrest was a political move. It says it was purely a judicial matter and a case of Canada living up to its treaty obligations to the United States.
“We are being absolutely clear on standing up for our citizens who have been detained, trying to figure out why, trying to work with China to demonstrate that this is not acceptable,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said late last week.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also calls the arrests in China unacceptable.
Ottawa has declined to say why it believes the two Canadians were arrested. But China’s state-run Beijing News newspaper says the two are suspected of activities that endanger Chinese national security.
On Monday, state-back newspaper the Global Times warned in an editorial that the spat with Canada could escalate.
“In the struggle with Canada, China needs to prepare for the possibility of conflict escalation,” it said.
“Beijing must take the contest seriously and maximize the support of international public opinion, leaving Western media no smear to slander its counterattacks as ‘degradation of China’s opening-up.'”