Ottawa: A second Canadian may have been detained in China in a potential act of retribution that threatens to escalate the diplomatic dispute between Washington, Beijing and Ottawa following the arrest of Huawei's Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in Vancouver, a CNN report said on Thursday.
The Canadian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday night identified the national as Michael Spavor, the founder of the Paektu Cultural Exchange, a company that helps to facilitate trips to North Korea.
Spavor had previously assisted in helping former NBA player Dennis Rodman travel to Pyongyang to meet Kim Jong-un, the country's leader.
News of his disappearance comes shortly after Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland earlier in the day acknowledged that Chinese authorities had arrested Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat who now works for the International Crisis Group (ICG) as its northeast Asia senior adviser.
Spavor, who has not been heard from for 24 hours, had contacted Canadian consular officials in Beijing after being questioned by Chinese authorities.
"We are working very hard to ascertain his whereabouts, and we have raised this case with the Chinese authorities, and we are in touch with his family," CNN quoted Freeland as saying on Wednesday.
Experts were concerned that Kovrig and Spavor are being held as retaliation for Canada's arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver earlier this month.
Meng is accused of helping Huawei dodge US sanctions on Iran, according to Canadian prosecutors.
On Tuesday night, Meng has been released on bail while a Canadian court decides whether to extradite her to the US to face charges there.
The Canadian government has so far been unwilling to publicly link Meng's arrest with the detention of Spavor who is suspected of "activities that endangered China's national security", according to information published on Chinese state media news portal Northeast News Network.
The state media post was attributed to the Chinese State Security Bureau of Dandong, a city in China's northeast on the North Korean border where Spavor is believed to be based.
In a statement Sunday, China's vice minister of foreign affairs, Le Yucheng, called Meng's arrest "lawless, reasonless and ruthless".
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