Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday to ask for an end to U.S. steel tariffs and additional diplomatic assistance in Canada’s ongoing dispute with China.
“The two leaders discussed relations with China, including the arbitrary detention of two Canadian citizens in China and Canada’s ongoing efforts to secure their release,” reads a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
In December, Canada detained Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou at the Vancouver International Airport on an extradition request from the United States. She was later granted bail and is now awaiting court proceedings.
Shortly after Meng’s arrest, two Canadian expats living in China — Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor — were detained. In March, China’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission accused Kovrig of stealing state secrets passed on to him by Spavor.
According to a source with direct knowledge of the call, Trudeau reminded Trump of the blowback Canada has faced from China since Meng’s arrest, placing a special emphasis on the conditions of Kovrig and Spavor’s imprisonment.
The pair have had limited access to consular officials and are not allowed to see family or loved ones. They have been confined to single rooms without the ability to turn the lights off in their cells at night.