“These charges are politically motivated and completely groundless,” Pompeo said. “The United States stands with Canada in calling on Beijing for the immediate release of the two men and rejects the use of these unjustified detentions to coerce Canada.”
US prosecutors want Meng to stand trial on multiple charges, including bank fraud and violating US sanctions against Iran.
Late last month, a Canadian judge ruled the extradition case against her could proceed, in what China’s representatives to the country called a “grave political incident.”
Within weeks, new charges were announced against Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat and NGO worker, and Spavor, who founded a North Korea tourism company.
China’s legal system is beholden to the ruling Communist Party and is known for its exceedingly high conviction rate.
On Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the evidence against the two Canadians was “solid” and the “facts are clear.”
Zhao denied reports that the two men had been denied access to consular assistance, saying visits were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“In both cases they receive consular visits once every month, exactly 30 minutes, with someone there watching all the discussion,” he said. “These mainly serve to give them news of their family, and give them books and other reading material. It’s very difficult for them, they are waiting and they have no idea when and how they might be released.”
In his statement, Pompeo said Washington echoed “Canada’s call for immediate consular access to its two citizens, in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, as China has prohibited such access for almost six months, and the world has no knowledge of the two Canadians’ condition.”
“Europe faces a China challenge, just as the United States does, and as — just as our South American, African, Middle Eastern, and Asian friends do too,” Pompeo said.