Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau on Wednesday said that the trial of two Canadians charged with espionage in China will begin on Friday.
"Our embassy in Beijing has been notified that court hearings for Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are scheduled to take place on March 19 and March 22, respectively," Garneau said in a statement, reported Sputnik.
The top Canadian diplomat added that Ottawa is continuing to seek consular access to the detained men and their release remains the government's top priority.
Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor have been detained in China for more than 800 days on espionage charges. Ottawa maintains that the detentions came in retaliation for Canada detaining Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in 2018 at the request of the United States.
The arrests of Meng and the two Canadian nationals sprained relations between China and Canada, with Ottawa's condemnation of Beijing's national security law implemented in Hong Kong and alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang province.
Both nations view the detention of their nationals by the other as political incidents. However, Chinese officials have said that Canada's deference to US foreign policy served as a catalyst for the growing diplomatic rift, reported Sputnik.
( With inputs from ANI )
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