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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pushing again on the notion that Canada’s willingness to assist two residents who had been detained in China is an acknowledgement they engaged in espionage on Ottawa’s behalf.

The federal authorities will probably be there to assist Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor rebuild their lives after they had been arbitrarily imprisoned in China for 3 years, Trudeau mentioned Thursday.

Canada has assisted Kovrig and Spavor from the start as a result of China selected to make use of them as pawns in geopolitical video games, Trudeau advised a information convention in Toronto.

“We’ve been there to assist the 2 Michaels, who went by means of unimaginable difficulties, being arbitrarily detained by China,” he mentioned. “We are going to proceed to be there to assist them.”

He mentioned China arrested the Canadians for political causes, including there was “completely no justification, no purpose, no excuse for them to do this.”

Trudeau’s feedback got here a day after John Phillips, a lawyer for Spavor, indicated his shopper had reached a settlement with the federal authorities over the detention.

Phillips mentioned in an electronic mail that the matter between Spavor and the federal government had been “resolved.”

Trudeau declined to say Thursday whether or not Ottawa had supplied compensation to Kovrig, citing a necessity for confidentiality.

Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, a senior government of Chinese language agency Huawei Applied sciences, in December 2018 on the request of america, the place she confronted costs associated to American sanctions towards Iran.

The transfer clearly angered Beijing, and Kovrig and Spavor — two Canadians working in China — had been arrested quickly after on accusations of endangering nationwide safety, a transfer broadly seen as retaliation towards Ottawa.

Kovrig and Spavor had been each convicted of spying in 2021 in closed Chinese language courts. Canada and plenty of allies mentioned the method amounted to arbitrary detention on bogus costs in an unaccountable justice system.

The U.S. labored out a deferred prosecution settlement in Meng’s case, permitting for her launch, and Beijing permitted the 2 Michaels, as they got here to be identified, to fly residence in September 2021.

By Jim Bronskill.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed March 7, 2024.

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