The Latest: Cabinet official confirms ex-diplomat held

The Latest on the detention of a former Canadian diplomat in China (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

Canada's public safety minister says the government is deeply concerned about a Canadian detained in China — confirming that a former Canadian diplomat is being held in Beijing amid a dispute between the two counties over Canada's arrest of a Chinese executive.

Minister Ralph Goodale said Tuesday the government is sparing no effort to look after the Canadian's safety. The comment came in response to a question about reports that former diplomat Michael Kovrig had been arrested in China, though he did not mention him by name.

The detention follows Chinese warnings to Canada of consequences for its recent arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver's airport.

Goodale said there is no explicit indication at this point that the cases are related and he said Canada is working to determine why he was detained.


1:15 p.m.

A former Canadian diplomat has been detained while visiting Beijing.

A person familiar with the matter says Michael Kovrig was detained Monday night in Beijing during one of his regular visits to the city. The person spoke on condition of anonymity for lack of authorization to speak publicly on the matter.

The International Crisis Group said earlier Tuesday it was aware of reports that its North East Asia senior adviser has been detained. The Hong Kong-based Kovrig had served as the political lead for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's trip to that city in 2016.

The Brussels-based non-governmental organization said in a statement that it's doing everything possible to obtain additional information about Kovrig's whereabouts and that it will work to ensure his prompt release.

The detention comes after China warned Canada of consequences for its recent arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver's airport. It's unclear if there's any link between the cases.

The International Crisis Group said Kovrig has been one of its full-time experts since February 2017.

— Associated Press writer Rob Gillies in Toronto