China police
Chinese police officers stand guard outside the Canadian embassy in Beijing, Dec. 10, 2018. Getty Images/Greg Baker

Canadian businessman Michael Spavor has gone missing after he was questioned by Chinese authorities during his recent visit to the country, Canada’s Foreign Ministry said late Wednesday. The incident is the second this week following the detention of former diplomat Michael Kovrig in China on Monday.

Foreign ministry spokesman Guillaume Berube said in a statement issued in Canada that Spavor was a businessman based in the northern Chinese city of Dandong, who runs cultural exchanges with North Korea. He was largely responsible for facilitating one of Dennis Rodman’s trips to North Korea, during which the former NBA player met with Kim Jong Un.

“We have not been able to make contact with him since he let us know about this,” Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. “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.”

Berube told Global News in an emailed statement that Canadian officials were working hard to ascertain Spavor’s whereabouts, and that they “continue to raise this with the Chinese government.”

After reports emerged about the identity of the second man detained this week in China, the country's local channel Northeast News Network reported that Spavor was suspected of engaging in activities that endangered China's national security. According to the report, he was examined by the National Security Bureau of Dandong City, Liaoning Province, on Monday.

Spavor's disappearance not only comes after Kovrig was detained Monday in Beijing but also amid tensions between the two nations after the arrest last week of Chinese telecoms company Huawei's executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, Canada.

However, the Canadian government has been unwilling to directly link Meng’s arrest with the detention of Kovrig -- who works for the International Crisis Group (ICG). According to Chinese state-run Beijing News, Kovrig is being questioned on suspicion of engaging in “activities that harmed China’s national security.”

“Canadian citizen Michael John Kovrig was on 10 December investigated in accordance with the law by the Beijing State Security Bureau on suspicion of engaging in activities that harm China’s state security,” the newspaper said.

William Nee, the China researcher for Amnesty International’s East Asia regional office in Hong Kong, said Kovrig’s detention was alarming.

“We need to wait for the official explanation from the Chinese side, but this detention could have a chilling effect on the foreign NGO and business communities in terms of their feeling safe while traveling in China,” he told Reuters.

According to reports, Spavor contacted the Canadian government after Kovrig was detained, saying he was summoned for questioning. He reportedly knows Kovrig, according to the Globe and Mail.

Meanwhile, in his last post on Facebook, Spavor wrote he will be in South Korea's capital Seoul for a few days starting Monday.