The detentions of the Canadians followed the Dec. 1 arrest in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the Chinese telecommunications and consumer electronics giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, at the request of the United States.
The Canadian government has said several times it saw no explicit link between the arrest of Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, and the detentions of Kovrig and Spavor. But Beijing-based Western diplomats and former Canadian diplomats have said they believed the detentions were a "tit-for-tat" reprisal by China.
The Canadian government official said Canadian authorities were aware of the latest detention in China but gave no details.
Meng is accused by the United States of misleading multinational banks about Iran-linked transactions, putting the banks at risk of violating U.S. sanctions. She was released on bail in Vancouver, where she owns two homes, while waiting to learn if she will be extradited to the United States. She is due in court on Feb. 6.
U.S. President Donald Trump, whose administration is wrestling with China over trade issues, told Reuters last week he might intervene in the case if it would serve national security interests or help close a trade deal with China.
The comments upset Canada which warned the United States against politicizing extradition cases.
Huawei is the world’s biggest supplier of telecoms network equipment and second biggest smartphone seller. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard, Philip Wen and Christian Shepherd in Beijing, Allison Martell in Toronto and David Ljunggren in Ottawa Writing by Bill Trott Editing by Bernadette Baum and Alistair Bell)
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