As Canadians Michael Kovrig
and Michael Spavor
were detained by the Chinese government for almost a year,
the newly appointed Federal Foreign Minister
Francois-Philippe Champagne took the two on Saturday.
The fate of the Canadians met with Chinese Foreign Minister
Wang Yi face-to-face for an hour.
Shang Pengfei was appointed
as the new Foreign Minister on Wednesday (20th).
He had talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi
while attending the G-20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
in Nagoya, Japan last Saturday.
Shang Pengfei and Wang Yi discussed the fate
of former Canadian diplomat Kovrig and Canadian businessman Spavor,
both of whom have been detained in Chinese prisons for nearly a year on the
grounds of threats to national security by the Chinese government.
Shang Pengfei pointed out that
striving for the release of Kovrig and Spavor is his absolute priority
after taking over the post of Federal Foreign Minister.
Since Canada’s arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer
Meng Wanzhou at the request of the United States on December 1, last year,
Canada-China relations have deteriorated Kovrig and Spavor.
The Chinese government detained Canada
nine days after Meng Wanzhou was arrested on the grounds
that his country’s security was threatened.
During the detention, the two were not allowed to meet
with lawyers or their families, and were not formally charged.
The outside world believed that the purpose
of the Chinese move was to retaliate against Meng Wanzhou’s arrest.