The two Canadians have been detained since December 2018 and were charged in June last year with spying.
Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat who worked for the International Crisis Group (ICG), is accused by the Chinese authorities of “stealing sensitive information and intelligence through contacts in China since 2017,” while Spavor, a businessman based in Beijing with a focus on North Korea, is accused of providing intelligence to Kovrig.
Chinese officials have not disclosed any evidence against the two men or information detailing their alleged crimes, but have said, “the facts are clear and evidence is solid.”
After Kovrig and Spavor were charged with espionage last year, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced the “political” nature of their case, saying their detention was a “decision made by the Chinese government and we deplore it.”
In his statement Thursday, Garneau said Canada believes the detention of Kovrig and Spavor “are arbitrary, and remain deeply troubled by the lack of transparency surrounding these proceedings.”
“Canadian officials are seeking continued consular access to Mr. Spavor and Mr. Kovrig, in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the China-Canada Consular Agreement, and have also requested to attend the proceedings,” he added. “Canadian officials will continue to provide consular support to these men and their families during this unacceptable ordeal.”