By Michael Hernandez
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged China Friday to release two Canadian citizens it detained this week, calling their jailings "unacceptable."
"They ought to be returned," Pompeo told reporters following a meeting of U.S. and Canadian top diplomats and military officials. "We ask all nations of the world to treat other citizens properly, and the detention of these two Canadian citizens in China ought to end."
The Chinese government warned Thursday that unless Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who is facing extradition to the U.S. on suspicion of Iran sanctions evasion, is let go there would be “revenge” against Canada.
Beijing said two Canadians have been detained on the grounds of “engaging in activities that endanger the national security.”
In a video this week, the head of the state run Global Times said that is just the beginning of reprisals.
“If Canada extradites Meng to the U.S., China’s revenge will be far worse than detaining a Canadian,” Hu Xijin said in the video.
Meng, who the U.S. suspects used a shell company to get around U.S. imposed sanctions on Iran, was released on $7.5 million bail by a Canadian court on Tuesday, a move the Chinese called “a step in the right direction.”
China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang confirmed Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor, who arranged the visits of Dennis Rodman to North Korea a few years ago, and Canadian Michael Kovrig, who reported on highly sensitive subjects for non-government International Crisis Group, had been detained.