Canada has asked China for extra security at its embassy because of protests and anti-Canadian sentiment and has advised foreign service staff to take precautions, a senior Canadian official told reporters.
The detention of two Canadian citizens in China is unacceptable and they must be returned, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a press briefing on Friday with Secretary of Defense James Mattis and their Canadian counterparts.
Some 780,000 trips were made by Canadians to China between January and last month, a far higher proportion than the number of Chinese who visited Canada, he said.
On Tuesday, Canadian officials learned that former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig was being detained and late Wednesday, a Chinese government news website confirmed that local authorities had Spavor in custody.
Spavor has acted as a translator and facilitator for former U.S. National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman on trips to North Korea and shared Long Island Iced Teas with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on board one of his private boats after they went jet-skiing in 2013.
Canada's foreign minister declined to draw a line between the men's detention and the court battle going on over whether to grant bail to Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer at Huawei Technologies who was arrested for extradition to the United States.
On Tuesday, following a three-day hearing in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, Meng was released on $10 million bail.
Her case has infuriated Beijing and shaken Canada's relations with China, which is itself embroiled in a trade war with the United States.
But Canadian diplomatic experts have said they have no doubt the two cases are linked.
Why should Canada take the heat while the U.S plays footsie with China? The moves came nine days after Canada arrested Meng as part of extradition efforts by US authorities.
Canadian officials were working hard to ascertain Spavor's whereabouts and would continue to raise the issue with the Chinese government, Bérubé said.
Spavor runs tours of North Korea along with other "cultural exchanges" and "business projects" via his company Paektu Cultural Exchange. The Hong Kong-based newspaper previously reported that leading Chinese tech firms have warned employees against all but "essential" travel to the U.S. Those who must travel to North America have reportedly been instructed to remove sensitive data from their electronic devices.
China is one of Canada's biggest buyers of agricultural products from oilseeds to softwood lumber and is a growing market for the nation's banks, insurers and luxury-good makers.
"They want to send a signal that they don't want outsiders in China to deal with North Korea".
Canada is ostensibly already suffering collateral damage from its weighty neighbour's tensions with China, despite Ottawa's insistence that Meng's arrest was unrelated to the trade spat. It said his case had been raised directly with Chinese officials.
That's balanced against the risk of a lengthy prison term if convicted, as the fraud offences she is alleged to have committed carry a maximum of 30 years in jail.
Richard said the security concerns were legitimate: "I absolutely understand that all of our countries, and the French authorities, are preoccupied".
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the legal process should not be hijacked for political purposes, and Ms Meng's lawyers would have the option of raising Mr Trump's remarks if they chose to fight extradition.