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Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau says two detained residents have left China

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© Reuters. Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference when he tells reporters that the two Canadian citizens arrested by Beijing have left Chinese airspace and will arrive back in Canada early Saturday in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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OTTAWA (Reuters) – Two Canadian citizens detained from Beijing for more than 1,000 days have left Chinese airspace and will be back in Canada early Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Friday.

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were arrested in December 2018 shortly after Vancouver police arrested Huawei Technologies Co Ltd CFO Meng Wanzhou with a US arrest warrant. Just before Trudeau spoke, Canadian media reported that Meng had flown back to China after reaching an agreement with US authorities.

"Twelve minutes ago Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor left Chinese airspace on their way home," Trudeau said shortly before reporters.

"These two men went through an incredibly difficult situation, but it's inspiring and it's good news for all of us that they are on their way home to their families."

Although Beijing consistently insisted that the two cases were not linked, Trudeau's liberal government accused China of hostage diplomacy. Trudeau was not asked whether the two countries had signed a bilateral agreement.

"I want to thank our allies and partners around the world in the international community who have stood steadfast in solidarity with Canada and these two Canadians," he said.

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