Canadian couple released from China after US deal with Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou

Two Canadians detained in China on espionage charges were released from prison and flown out of the country hours after a senior executive of Chinese communications giant Huawei Technologies resolved charges against him in a deal with the United States.

Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were arrested in China in December 2018, shortly after Canada arrested Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter of the company’s founder, Meng Wanzhou, on a US extradition request. Many countries described China’s action as a “hostage policy”.

The deal with Meng requires the US Department of Justice to dismiss fraud charges late next year in exchange for Meng’s company accepting responsibility for misrepresenting its trade deals in Iran.


Justin Trudeau (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press/AP)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a press conference Friday to announce the release of Kovrig and Spavor, about an hour after Meng’s plane departed from Canada for China.

Known as a deferred prosecution agreement, the arrangement with Meng resolves a years-long legal and geopolitical battle involving not only the United States and China, but also Canada, where Meng has remained since his arrest at Vancouver airport in December 2018.

The agreement was reached as President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping sought to quell any signs of public tension, even as the world’s two dominant economies face off on issues as diverse as cybersecurity, climate change, human rights and trade, and tariffs.

Mr. Biden said in a speech to the UN General Assembly earlier this week that he has no intention of starting a “new Cold War”, while Mr. Xi told world leaders that disagreements between countries “must be resolved through dialogue and cooperation”.

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