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Trudeau, Trump discuss Canadians detained in China

Conservative MP Michael Chong speaks to reporters as she arrives for a Conservative caucus retreat on Parliament Hill in Ottawa

"The Canadian federal government stays deeply anxious by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of these 2 Canadians considering that December 2018 and continues to require their instant release", Global Affairs Canada, which handles the federal government's diplomatic and consular relations, stated.

Canada announced Saturday its first contact since January with Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been imprisoned in China for almost two years.

"The Chinese judicial organs handle the case independently according to law".

Canada believes that the two citizens were detained as a retaliation for Canada detaining Chinese company Huawei's CFO, Meng Wanzhou. "So the label of arbitrary detention can not be pinned to the Chinese side", he told reporters at a daily briefing.

Accusing Canada of "double standards" for holding her, Zhao said any attempts "to form worldwide cliques to put pressure on China together are totally futile and counterproductive".

Meng is fighting the extradition on fraud charges in Canadian court.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump discussed on the phone the issue of two Canadian citizens detained in China since late 2018 and to whom China granted rare consular access on Friday and Saturday, the Canadian government said.

One of the two Canadians that Ottawa says are held arbitrarily in China was "relieved" to get outside news via a virtual diplomatic visit and remains determined to come home, his wife said yesterday.

Bilateral ties have suffered as China has upped its demands that Canada release Meng, who was detained during a stopover in Vancouver in December 2018 and is now living in one of her mansions in the city while fighting extradition.

"We are extremely proud that despite his long confinement, Michael's spirit, determination and even his sense of humor remain unbroken", she said, adding that her husband was shocked to learn about the scale of the coronavirus pandemic.

China arrested Canadian citizens Kovrig and Spavor in late 2018 and later charged them with espionage.