Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his priority is the safe return of two Canadians detained in China.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday he would not comment on reports that the United States is negotiating a “deal” that will allow Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou to return to China to admit wrongdoing.

Canadian authorities arrested Meng in 2018 after the US requested extradition on allegations made by the Chinese telecommunications company’s executive director.

On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Meng’s attorneys had spoken to US Justice Department officials about the possibility of reaching a “deferred law enforcement arrangement.”

Reuters news agency also said these discussions had increased after last month’s US presidential election.

“I will not comment on these reports,” Trudeau told reporters during a news conference in Ottawa on Friday.

“Canadians know full well that our top priority is the safe return of the two Michaels,” he said, referring to businessman Michael Spavnor and former diplomat Michael Kovring, Canadian citizens who were incarcerated in China shortly after Meng’s arrest.

The Chinese authorities accused Spavnor and Koening of espionage, an allegation they deny.

The case has strained China-Canada relations, and government officials in Ottawa and Beijing have been waging a war of words for the past two years.

In June, Trudeau slammed China for the “political” imprisonment of Spavnor and Koening – and he has repeatedly stated that his government will not hesitate to criticize China for its human rights record.

“This use of arbitrary incarceration as a means of promoting political achievement is totally unacceptable in a rule-based world,” Trudeau said at the time.

China has since warned Canada not to interfere in its internal affairs.

Meng’s extradition case is being heard in the British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver, on the west coast of Canada, where she is under house arrest.

She will be on trial again on Monday.


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