A former Canadian diplomat has been detained in China amid rising tensions between the two countries over Canada's arrest, at the request of the United States, of a Chinese technology executive.
A former Canadian envoy to Beijing, Hong Kong and elsewhere from 2003 to 2016, Michael Kovrig was apprehended earlier this week for undisclosed reasons.
Kovrig, a Mandarin speaker, is the Northeast Asia senior adviser for the International Crisis Group, which researches peaceful solutions to global conflicts.
Kovrig's apprehension comes as a Canadian court is deciding whether to release Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of China's Huawei Technologies company, on bail pending a U.S. request to extradite her to stand trial on charges that she violated U.S. sanctions against trade with Iran.
An International Crisis Group statement said, "We are doing everything possible to secure additional information on Michael's whereabouts as well as his prompt and safe release."
Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he was "deeply concerned" about Kovrig's detention, but that there was "no explicit indication at this moment" that the arrests were related to each other.
Former Canadian Liberal leader Bob Rae linked Kovrig's detention to the arrest of Meng at the Vancouver airport on December 1.
"It's called repression and retaliation," he said on Twitter.