Trump, Trudeau discuss issue of two Canadian citizens detained in China

(Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump discussed on Saturday the issue of two Canadian citizens who have been detained in China, Trudeau’s office said in a read out statement of the phone call between the two leaders.

Trudeau thanked Trump for the United States’ support in “seeking the immediate release of the two Canadian citizens arbitrarily detained by China,” the statement read without giving more details.

The White House had no immediate comment on further details about the call.

China arrested Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a businessman, in late 2018 and later charged them with espionage, after Canada had arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, on a U.S. warrant.

The relations between Canada and China have since been tense.

The United States’ own tensions with China have also increased recently over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak, the ongoing trade war between the two countries, China’s imposition of a national security law on Hong Kong and the subsequent end to Hong Kong’s special status under U.S. law by Trump.

Trudeau and Trump also discussed on Saturday the U.S. president’s health following his recent COVID-19 diagnosis, as well as ongoing efforts to manage the coronavirus.