In a recent development that adds a new layer to the ongoing diplomatic tension between Canada and China, a North Korean media outlet has reported the arrest of two Canadian nationals by Chinese authorities. The report, while sparse on specifics, seems to refer to Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig's case—two Canadian citizens facing charges of espionage since December 2018.
Retaliation or Rule of Law?
The arrest of Spavor and Kovrig is widely perceived as China's retaliatory move against Canada's detention of Meng Wanzhou, a top executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei, on a U.S. extradition warrant. This situation has heightened tensions between the two nations and stirred global concern over China's alleged use of 'hostage diplomacy.' However, the recent report from the North Korean media outlet appears to be an attempt to manipulate the narrative surrounding this diplomatic dispute.
Unraveling the North Korean Angle
Interestingly, this isn't the first time that North Korean state media has commented on the 'two Michaels' case. It had previously referenced the arrest in 2019. Furthermore, amid this diplomatic tussle, North Korea has touted its first spy satellite's capabilities, claiming it has captured images of key U.S. sites, including the White House and the Pentagon.
China's Stance on Legal Matters in Foreign Affairs
Adding another twist to this story, Chinese President Xi Jinping has recently called for a stronger rule of law in foreign affairs, citing 'external risks and challenges.' As China opens up to the outside world, Xi underscored the need to deepen international cooperation on law enforcement, strengthen consular protection and assistance, and build a robust rule of law to safeguard its overseas citizens and interests.