HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's premier is defending his latest trade mission to China as two Canadians held by the economic giant approach one year behind bars.
Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were detained on espionage allegations shortly after Huawei senior executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver last December on an extradition request from the United States.
Premier Stephen McNeil says he expects the issue of the Canadian detainees will be raised when he meets with Ma Xingrui, governor of China's Guangdong province, but he didn't elaborate.
McNeil says the two countries' national governments are working toward resolving tensions, and his government will do whatever it can to support those efforts.
In the meantime, McNeil says he believes it is important to build relationships through trade that benefit both economies.
He says "isolation and protectionism" have never worked, and the best way to demonstrate what democracies have to offer is to stay engaged with countries that aren't democracies.
The Nova Scotia trade mission leaves Friday and will be McNeil's eighth trip to China since becoming premier in 2013.
The mission will also make stops in South Korea and Japan before wrapping up Nov. 23.