A Canadian newspaper reported on Thursday that Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, both detained in China for months, have been formally arrested by Chinese authorities. Despite the arrest, no formal charges have been given yet.
According to The Globe and Mail, a source from Ottawa confirmed that the two detainees have not yet been charged despite previous allegations of endangering "China's security." The Chinese government also accused Kovrig of stealing state secrets.
Spavor, on the other hand, was accused of being an accomplice to Kovrig by providing the latter with intelligence that could put Beijing's confidential information at risk. Canada's foreign ministry has responded to the formal arrests made.
"Canada strongly condemns their arbitrary arrest as we condemned their arbitrary detention on Dec 10," the ministry said. It is worth noting that Ottawa and Beijing already have existing tensions ever since Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada upon the American government's request.
Meng was arrested on grounds of violating Iran sanctions but evidence has yet to be released to the public. The Huawei exec has since fought against getting extradited to the United States and continues to be on house arrest.
On Wednesday, multiple outlets confirmed that US President Donald Trump signed the executive order to ban Huawei from the country's networks. According to CBC News, Trump declared a national emergency and later barred American firms from using the Honor maker's equipment.
Aside from the European Union (EU), Trump has also been calling on Canada to ban the tech behemoth from 5G network projects. The Canadian government is currently reviewing Huawei equipment for potentially insecure channels.
Despite US pressure, Ottawa said late Wednesday that it will not allow the White House to order it around regarding a Huawei ban. Instead, the Canadian government is looking to "take a measured approach" on the matter, Global News reported.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Ottawa will set its eyes on measures that will protect Canada's overall economic status, which is "doing well" at the moment. The government will only take steps that will ensure its economic stability is retained, Morneau noted.
Tensions between Beijing and Ottawa have been heightening over the past months since Meng was arrested. While no links to the arrests of Kovrig and Spavor have been connected to Meng's detention, spectators are waiting for authorities from both sides to both sides to unveil evidence that will charge the accused.
Some analysts previously suggested that the arrest of Meng may be linked to Trump's trade war against China. Others said Beijing may have retaliated. Both countries have yet to make confirmations or denials regarding the issue.