Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday he hoped to get "good news" about two Canadian citizens who have been held in what he called "arbitrary detention" in China for two years.
Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat working as a senior advisor for the International Crisis Group, and businessman Michael Spavor were first detained on December 10, 2018 on spying charges.
Their arrest came just days after the detention in Vancouver of a top executive for Chinese tech company Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, on a US warrant. Relations between Ottawa and Beijing have since deteriorated.
Charges against Kovrig and Spavor are widely perceived in the West as retaliation for Meng's arrest, although China denies these allegations.
"We will continue to pursue every avenue to bring the two Michaels home as soon as possible," Trudeau told a press conference.
"And I remain hopeful to get good news -- an hour from now, a day from now, a week from now, a month from now," he said, without offering more details.
"This will be the third Christmas that Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor spend in arbitrary detention in China," Trudeau said.
Meng -- whose father is Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei -- has been in a two-year battle against extradition over charges Huawei violated US sanctions on Iran.
Reports of a possible "deferred prosecution agreement" with the US Justice Department had raised hopes that the case could be settled -- and Spavor and Kovrig would also be set free.
Under the terms, Meng would admit some of the fraud and conspiracy charges related to the alleged violations by Huawei and be allowed to return to China.
"We are a country that rejects coercive diplomacy and arbitrary detention," Trudeau said.
"China's approach in the way it's been conducting itself is not improving its relations with any country around the world, and indeed is harming its own interests."