A second Canadian citizen is being held in China on suspicion of endangering national security, adding to tension after Canada’s arrest of a top Chinese telecom executive on a US request.
Michael Spavor, a China-based business consultant who facilitates trips to North Korea, was placed under investigation on Monday by state security in the northeast city of Dandong, the official Liaoning province news agency said.
His disappearance emerged after former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig was detained by state security during a visit to Beijing. That also occurred on Monday and was under similar suspicions.
Mr Kovrig’s arrest was seen by experts as retaliation over Canada’s arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, in relation to breaking Iran sanctions.
Mr Spavor is suspected of “engaging in activities that harm China’s national security”, the Chinese news agency added.
Based in Liaoning province, which borders North Korea, he has met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and famously arranged some of retired NBA star Dennis Rodman’s visits there.
The Canadian government had earlier reported that Mr Spavor was missing in China after being questioned.