BEIJING—Chinese authorities opened and closed the espionage trial of the second Canadian at the center of a long-running standoff with both Canada and the U.S. without delivering a verdict.
Michael Kovrig, a researcher on leave from Canada’s diplomatic service, attended the hearing Monday with his lawyer, said Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court, adding that it would issue a verdict at a later date. Mr. Kovrig has been charged with “probing into state secrets and intelligence” on behalf of foreign actors.
The trial began three days after a similar hearing for Michael Spavor in the northeastern Chinese city of Dandong, on the border with North Korea. That hearing concluded in a matter of hours, also without a verdict. Mr. Spavor ran a nonprofit that organized academic, tourist and business trips to North Korea.
Jim Nickel, Canada’s deputy chief of mission in China, said outside the Beijing court Monday morning that he had requested entry to the hearing but that he was denied on national security grounds. He cited Mr. Kovrig’s lawyer and a court official in saying the trial had begun.
Flanked by U.S. acting deputy chief of mission, William Klein, and diplomats from more than two dozen countries, many of them European, Mr. Nickel called for Chinese authorities to grant them access. He pointed to the Canada-China consular agreement, which he said guarantees consular access to citizens being tried. Canadian diplomats were also denied consular access to Mr. Spavor’s trial on national security grounds.