The diplomatic crisis that has poisoned relations between Beijing and Ottawa has resurfaced: one of two Canadians imprisoned for nearly three years in China has accused his fellow prisoner of being responsible for his arrest and is demanding millions from the Canadian government.
In December 2018, Canada arrested, at the request of Washington, the finance director of the telecom giant Huawei, Meng Wanzhou. And a few days later, Canadians Michael Spavor, a businessman, and ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig were arrested in China, a move that was considered retaliation.
Michael Spavor now blames his compatriot Michael Kovrig, who he gave information to North Korea without knowing it would be shared with Canada and his intelligence colleagues, for being behind their imprisonment, according to information from in the weekly Globe and Mail discussing the unknown. source.
More than two years after his return to Canada, Michael Spavor is seeking millions of dollars in compensation from the Canadian government.
“These allegations are baseless,” Michael Kovrig told AFP on Monday.
Perpetuating the idea that one or the other of the two Michaels was involved in espionage activities “only perpetuates a false narrative” that would explain their imprisonment according to China, the Canadian government said for its part.
Michael Kovrig “is not a spy,” added the Foreign Ministry, which did not confirm whether negotiations with Mr. Spavor were ongoing.
Beijing, however, stated that Mr. Spavor “fully highlighted the hypocrisy of Canada,” according to a Chinese statement sent to AFP on Monday by its embassy in Ottawa.
“We advise Canada to face the facts and think carefully about its own mistakes, instead of blaming others and continuing to attack and vilify China and mislead the public,” the embassy added.
Despite the release in 2021 of Meng Wanzhou and what Canada calls the “two Michaels”, tensions between the two countries continue, with Beijing criticizing Ottawa especially for its alignment with China’s policy in Washington and Canadian authorities suspect that China is interfering with its public. activity.