Canadian businessman Michael Spavor, who worked with North Korea, is being investigated on suspicion of harming China’s security, China said on Thursday, days after a former Canadian diplomat was detained in an escalating diplomatic row.
The state security bureau in the northeastern Chinese city of Dandong, which borders North Korea, has been investigating Spavor since Dec. 10, an official news site for the Liaoning province government said.
|China says second Canadian being probed for harming state security
It gave no further details.
The announcement follows the detention in Beijing on Monday of former diplomat Michael Kovrig, who works for the International Crisis Group (ICG).
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, asked about Spavor’s detention, said both he and Kovrig were suspected of harming national security, reiterating state media announcements.
“The legal rights and interests of these two Canadians have been safeguarded,” Lu told a daily news briefing. “These two cases are in the process of being investigated separately.”
The Canadian embassy has been notified of the detentions, he added, declining to provide further details of the investigations.
Lu said he had not heard of any other cases of Canadians being investigated.
China has reacted angrily to Canada’s arrest on Dec. 1 of Chinese executive Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL], and Spavor’s investigation is likely to escalate the diplomatic row.