'China is punishing Canada': John Bolton latest Trump ally to condemn Beijing for detentions

Canada-China relations are at their most strained since diplomatic relations began in 1970, China expert Paul Evans tells Mercedes Stephenson, and the United States has thrown Canada under the bus with Trump's trade war with the country.

John Bolton is the latest ally of U.S. President Donald Trump to condemn China for its detentions of Canadians amidst a dispute with the Americans over Huawei.

In a tweet on Monday, Bolton — the hawkish national security adviser to Trump — criticized Beijing and defended Canada’s detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who is out on bail in one of her two Vancouver homes after being detained in December 2018 at the request of U.S. authorities.

Meng and Huawei are charged with 23 counts of skirting American sanctions on Iran and stealing trade secrets.

READ MORE: Canadian trade delegation presses U.S. on Huawei, China dispute — ‘We’re taking a hit for them, big time’

But just days after her detention, China detained two Canadians in quick succession on what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called “arbitrary” and “illegal” claims of endangering Beijing’s national security.

Michael Kovrig, a diplomat on leave, and the entrepreneur Michael Spavor were detained in China on Dec. 10 but have not had access to lawyers or been formally charged.

Kovrig received his seventh consular visit since the detention on Monday while Spavor has only had six.

Both are being kept in reportedly poor conditions.

WATCH BELOW: Canada ‘taking a hit’ for U.S. on China, Huawei dispute, says Liberal MP

China has accused Canada of political interference in Meng’s arrest.

However, extradition requests between Canada and the U.S. are governed by clear legal treaty and are a matter of routine occurrence.

“China is punishing Canada for upholding its treaty obligations and the rule-of-law,” Bolton tweeted. “The U.S. stands with Canada in efforts to secure the release of its citizens unfairly detained in China.”

Last week, another powerful Trump ally spoke out against Beijing while Chinese officials were in Washington for trade talks.

WATCH BELOW: US/China trade war causing turmoil in global financial markets

Sen. Jim Risch, a Republican from Idaho and chair of the U.S. Senate foreign relations committee, told the Canadian Press on Friday that Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are being kept in “harsh conditions” compared to Meng’s house arrest while she is out on bail.

“I — and many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle — am very concerned about both Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor. We will not forget about them until their release,” Risch said.

“Ms. Meng is living in her home and has full access to a functioning legal system that is handling her case. Canada’s citizens remain detained in harsh conditions and without access to lawyers and consular officials.”

READ MORE: Trump ally raises concern for detained Canadians facing ‘harsh conditions’ in China

While not a Trump ally, Joe Biden was another prominent American voice speaking out for Canada on Monday.

The former U.S. vice president said that he believes President Donald Trump is focusing on the wrong thing with his tariffs, and said Canada got caught up in the trade war with China.

WATCH BELOW: Biden says Canada got caught up in trade war with China

Liberal MP Mark Eyking, chair of the House of Commons international trade committee, told Global News last week that Canada is trying to rally allies as the dispute with China continues and that several prominent policymakers south of the border were prepared to start speaking out.

“So here again, little brother Canada, we’re taking a hit for them big time, right, and that’s not only in our economy with canola, pork and various things, but we have Canadian citizens that are detained illegally and under a bad circumstance,” he said.

“They’re totally not aware of this, what we’re doing for them, technically, and the price we’re paying. They are very keyed in on that and they want the information and they know the Chinese are coming to town now and some of them are willing to bring it up.”

With files from the Canadian Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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