13:21 GMT02 July 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - President Donald Trump will urge China to release two detained Canadian citizens when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the upcoming G20 summit in Japan, US Vice President Mike Pence said during a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday.

    "President Trump will be travelling along with the Prime Minster [Trudeau] to the G20 in the weeks ahead," Pence said. "We anticipate that he will meeting with President Xi there. We are in the midst of significant discussions over our trading relationship. But I can assure you in that context and going forward, we are going to urge China to release the Canadian citizens even while we deal with the larger economic and structural issues between the United States and China."

    China detained the two Canadian nationals, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, last December on suspicion of spying and stealing state secrets, amid a row between the two countries over Canada's detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

    "The United States today renews our call on the Chinese government to release the two Canadian citizens who have been wrongfully detained for the last six months without due process of law," Pence said in Ottawa.

    Earlier, Trudeau has called the arrests of Canadian citizens in China on espionage charges "unacceptable" and vowed to make the safety of his fellow citizens the "utmost priority" during his trip to Paris.

    READ MORE: Chinese FM Lodges Protest Over Huawei CFO Extradition to US, Slams Canada

    The arrest of the two Canadian citizens in December 2018 was preceded by Canadian police arresting a Chinese citizen, Huawei's Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, on an extradition request from the US. The latter accuses her of helping Huawei deceive banks about relations with a third-party firm operating in Iran.


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