Is this one of the “severe” reprisals threatened by Beijing when it summoned Canada’s ambassador to Beijing for a meeting over the weekend?
According to Reuters, former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig has been detained in China. Kovrig’s employer, International Crisis Group, is working to secure his “safe” release.
The reason for Kovrig’s detention wasn’t immediately clear, and Beijing has refused to comment on his detention. However, Reuters noted that the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has “stoked fears of reprisals.”
“International Crisis Group is aware of reports that its North East Asia Senior Adviser, Michael Kovrig, has been detained in China,” the think-tank said in a statement.
“We are doing everything possible to secure additional information on Michael’s whereabouts as well as his prompt and safe release,” it added.
China’s Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Public Security did not respond immediately to questions faxed earlier about Kovrig’s detention.
The exact reason for the detention was not immediately clear. The Canadian embassy declined to comment, referring queries to Ottawa.
Kovrig, a Mandarin speaker, has been working for the ICG as an in-house “expert” since February 2017. Prior to that, he served as a diplomat for the Canadian government between 2003 and 2016, with stints in Hong Kong and Beijing.
And while it’s possible that the timing of Kovrig’s arrest is purely coincidental, the timing is certainly suspicious.
Senior Communist Party officials let their frustration over the arrest and likely extradition of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou be known over the weekend during meetings with the American and Canadian ambassadors to Beijing where they threatened “severe consequences” if Meng isn’t released. But these threats haven’t blunted the Canadian government’s determination to prosecute Meng for fraud. And with the bail hearing for the executive and daughter of one of China’s most revered entrepreneurs set to begin a second day of proceedings on Monday, Bloomberg has published the most detailed report describing the defense presented by Meng’s lawyers.
Police have responded to a break-in at the Vancouver house said to belong to the husband of Meng Wanzhou, the detained Huawei CFO who says she is suffering from health problems in Canadian jail.
A Chinese senior military official has declared that Beijing should prepare to attack United States naval vessels, should the US violate Chinese “territorial waters,” according to Taiwan News.
Beijing has summoned the US ambassador and lodged a “strong protest” over the detainment of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, China’s foreign ministry announced, according to Reuters. Washington should also “withdraw” its arrest warrant.
CNN reports that White House chief of staff John Kelly is expected to resign soon. There have been similar rumors before, but this time the news may actually be true. That is bad for Trump and U.S. policies. Kelly is one a the few counterweights to national security advisor John Bolton. His replacement will likely be whoever Bolton chooses. That will move contFrol over Trump policies further into the hands of the neo-conservatives.
So much for a trade war truce between China and the US, or a stock market Christmas rally for that matter.