The Latest: Canada pushes for release of jailed citizens

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TORONTO (AP) — The Latest on Canada (all times local):

4:25 p.m.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says all countries should be concerned about Beijing’s blending of its commercial interests with threats of consequences if Canada doesn’t do what China wants.

China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Chinese Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Canada on Dec 1. China also sentenced another Canadian, Robert Schellenberg, to death in a sudden retrial of his drug-smuggling case.

Meng is the chief financial officer of Huawei and the daughter of its founder. The U.S. wants her extradited to face charges that she committed fraud by misleading banks about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran.

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Trudeau says Canada will continue to stand up for the rule of law and the independence of Canada’s justice system.

Canada’s public safety minister earlier said the country won’t be deterred by Chinese pressure after China threatened reprisals if Huawei was banned from supplying equipment for 5G networks.

There are accusations that the telecom giant is controlled by China’s ruling Communist Party or is required to facilitate Chinese spying.

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12:30 p.m.

Canada’s ambassador to China says his message to Chinese authorities is that it’s not in their interest to arrest people and use them as bargaining chips.

Envoy John McCallum told reporters on Friday that his top priority is to win the release of two Canadians detained in China and to save the life of a third.

China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor in apparent retaliation for the arrest of top Chinese executive Meng Wanzhou in Canada on Dec 1. China also sentenced another Canadian, Robert Schellenberg, to death Monday in a sudden retrial of his drug-smuggling case.

The arrest of Meng on Dec. 1 at the request of the United States has created a growing diplomatic rift between China and Canada. Meng is the chief financial officer of Huawei and the daughter of its founder.

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The U.S. wants her extradited to face charges that she committed fraud by misleading banks about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran.

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10 a.m.

Canada’s public safety minister said Friday that the country won’t be deterred by Chinese pressure after China threatened reprisals if Huawei was banned from supplying equipment for 5G networks.

There are accusations that the telecom giant is controlled by China’s ruling Communist Party or is required to facilitate Chinese spying. The U.S., Australia, Japan and other governments have imposed curbs on use of its technology.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Canada has been abundantly clear it will not compromise national security.

Goodale said: “It’s a difficult challenge but we’ll not be deterred by what we believe to be right and what we believe to be in the interests of Canada.”

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