Canadian authorities work to track down former Calgarian missing in China

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a year end interview with The Canadian Press on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday

Michael Spavor, a Canadian whose work brought him into North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's orbit, is missing in China, Global Affairs Canada confirmed Wednesday.

The state-run Northeast News said earlier in the day that Spavor was "under investigation by the Bureau of State Security of Dandong, Liaoning province as of December 10, 2018" on suspicion of "engaging in activities that endangered China's national security" - claims later reported confirmed by the Chinese foreign ministry.

China had warned of "revenge" for the arrest of Meng, especially if Canada extradited her to the US.

A second Canadian has been detained in China on accusations of harming national security, as tension continues between the two countries.

The announcement follows the detention in Beijing on Monday of former diplomat Michael Kovrig, who works for the International Crisis Group (ICG).

Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and business consultant Michael Spavor on Monday were put under "compulsory measures", Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang (陸慷) said, using a term that would usually mean they are in custody.

Ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig now works for a think-tank, the International Crisis Group (ICG), which has said it is concerned for his health and safety.

Mr Spavor runs an organisation called the Paektu Cultural Exchange, which organises business, cultural and tourism trips to North Korea. He has ties to figures in the North's government, including leader Kim Jong Un and was instrumental in bringing National Basketball Association player Dennis Rodman to the North's capital Pyongyang in 2013.

While Huawei's Chief Financial Officer faces extradition to the United States over claims that the company avoided US sanctions on Iran, Huawei might be facing another blow. A Canadian judge released Meng on bail on Tuesday.

China has strongly protested against Ms. Meng's arrest to US and Canadian officials and accused both countries of a premeditated attempt to undermine the global aspirations of telecommunications giant Huawei, whose founder is Ms. Meng's father.

"Normally, Canada can count on the United States to back them up on such an issue", said Laura Dawson, a former economic adviser at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa and director of the Canada Institute at the Wilson Center think tank in Washington.

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"That message has to be sent loudly and clearly by this government to the government of China".

Bild points to the exceptional circumstances of her arrest, saying Washington has been content in the past to impose fines on foreign companies found guilty of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.

"The detention of two Canadian citizens is unacceptable, they ought to be returned", Pompeo said.

Canada's ambassador to China, John McCallum, has also been in touch with the Chinese government "on more than one occasion" about the issue.

Trump earlier drew fire for intervening on behalf of Chinese telecommunications company, ZTE, after it was accused of selling equipment to Iran and North Korea.

China is the second-biggest buyer of softwood lumber products and companies have increasingly looked to the Asian market as a destination for shipments amid Canada's ongoing softwood lumber dispute with the U.S. It said his case had been raised directly with Chinese officials.

That's balanced against the risk of a lengthy prison term if convicted, as the fraud offences she is alleged to have committed carry a maximum of 30 years in jail.

In an email, the spokesman said Meng would be given every opportunity to ensure her rights and interests are represented throughout the proceedings.

The United States and China have emphasized that trade talks are separate from Meng's case, though President Donald Trump said Tuesday he would intervene if it would help produce a deal.

Freeland said on Friday that it was "very important for Canada that extradition agreements are not used for political purposes".

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