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International relations

'Hostage diplomacy' fears linger after China frees Canadians

Ottawa's former ambassador urges international treaty with sanctions as deterrent

Former diplomat Michael Kovrig embraces his wife after returning to Canada on Sept. 25, following nearly three years of imprisonment in China. He was released alongside businessman Michael Spavor.   © Reuters

OTTAWA -- Relief and joy in Canada over the release of two citizens imprisoned in China for nearly three years is being tempered by concerns about rewarding "hostage diplomacy" and questions of how to deal with Beijing in the future.

China freed diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor on Saturday, Asia time, immediately after Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was granted release from house arrest in Vancouver. The move followed the U.S. dropping a request for Meng's extradition, and came despite Beijing's repeated claims that there was no connection between the cases.

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