PM asks U.S. not to sign final trade deal with China until Canadians released


OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government has asked the United States not to sign any final trade agreement with China until two Canadians detained in China have been released.

It has been more than a year since China detained Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig in apparent retaliation for Canada’s arrest of a top Chinese tech executive, Meng Wanzhou.

Meng was arrested last December at the request of U.S. authorities who want her on fraud charges.

In an interview with TVA’s Salut Bonjour program aired this morning, Trudeau outlined how Canada has asked the Trump administration to use ongoing trade talks with China as leverage in securing the release of the two Canadians.

Earlier this month, China’s foreign ministry said the Kovrig and Spavor cases had been transferred to prosecutors for review and prosecution.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Canadian Press this week, Trudeau said he regretted that Kovrig and Spavor have been caught up in the diplomatic row, but didn’t regret that Canada lived up to its extradition treaty with the United States.