Consular meeting with Canadians detained in China should have happened sooner: Chong

Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong says Canada’s recent virtual consular visits to Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor should have happened much sooner.

The Ontario MP is also dismissing China’s position that it can’t allow in-person visits by diplomats because of COVID-19.

Chong tells The Canadian Press that the fact the Chinese economy has largely reopened makes it clear that’s an “excuse” to flout international conventions that guarantee consular access.

Kovrig and Spavor have been in prison in China since December 2018 in what is widely seen as retaliation for Canada arresting Chinese high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou on an American extradition warrant.

Dominic Barton, Canada’s ambassador to China, had internet-based visits with Spavor on Friday and Kovrig on Saturday.

It was the first contact Canadian diplomats have had with the two men since in-person visits in mid-January.

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