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Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland. Photo: Martin Ouellet-Diotte/AFP/Getty Images.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Wednesday that Canada is trying to gain access to a Canadian ex-diplomat and employee of the International Crisis Group who was reportedly detained by Chinese security services in Beijing. She also revealed that the government has been unable to reach a second Canadian who was questioned by Chinese authorities.

Why it matters: This all comes after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Chinese tech giant Huawei. Meng was released on bail yesterday, but faces extradition to the U.S. on fraud charges tied to the alleged evasion of U.S. sanctions on Iran. It's unclear what the connections are between these cases and the Huawei incident, but China had warned of "serious consequences" if Meng was not freed.

The ex-diplomat has been identified as Michael Kovrig. Freeland raised the case of the second Canadian for the first time this evening:

“We are aware of a Canadian who got in touch with us because he was being asked questions by Chinese authorities. We have not been able to make contact with him since he let us know about this. We are working very hard to ascertain his whereabouts and we have also raised this case with the Chinese authorities, we are in touch with his family.”
— Chrystia Freeland, Canadian foreign minister

Go deeper:

Go deeper

7 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.