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China suspects detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig of spying and stealing state secrets, state media reported Monday, turning up the heat in a diplomatic row between Beijing and Ottawa as a top Huawei executive faces possible extradition, Daily Mail reported quoting AFP.

Another Canadian in Chinese detention -- businessman Michael Spavor -- was one of Kovrig's main sources of intelligence, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing authorities.
The pair were detained in December in what observers see as retaliation just days after Canada arrested Chinese telecom giant Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, at the request of the United States.

Chinese authorities had previously said the two Canadian men were under investigation on suspicion of endangering national security. Spying charges could expose them to tough prison sentences.

Kovrig, who now works for the International Crisis Group think tank, had often entered China using a non-diplomatic passport and business visas and has been gathering intelligence since 2017, Xinhua said.

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