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Michael Spavor 10 Personal Facts, Biography, Wiki
Born: 1976 (age 45 years), Calgary, Canada
Michael Peter Todd Spavor is a Canadian consultant who has worked extensively in North Korea.
He is the director and founding member of Paektu Cultural Exchange, a NGO that facilitates sports, cultural, tourism and business exchanges involving North Korea.
In December 2018, while he was living and working in Dandong on the Chinese side of the China–North Korea border, Spavor was taken into custody, along with Michael Kovrig, by Chinese officials.
The arrest was widely interpreted as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.
On August 10, 2021, Spavor was sentenced to 11 years in prison for espionage.
On September 24, 2021, Spavor was released after the dropping of Meng Wanzhou’s extradition request as part of her deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Michael Spavor 10 Pics, Photos, Pictures
Michael Spavor 10 Fast Facts, Biography, Wiki
Michael Spavor was born in Toronto, Ontario.
He has a degree from the University of Calgary in international relations, focusing on the Korean Peninsula and East Asian Studies, and has studied International Trade and Political Science at Kangwon National University in South Korea.
Spavor is fluent in Korean, including the North Korean dialect, and French.
Spavor’s ties with North Korea go back to at least 2001, when he first visited the country.
In 2005, he became the managing director of a Vancouver-based NGO and spent six months working as a teacher at an affiliated school in Pyongyang.
In the same year, he met American defector James Joseph Dresnok in Pyongyang.
Spavor is friends with Kenji Fujimoto, Kim Jong-il’s Japanese former sushi chef, whom he first met in Japan in early 2016 and again in April 2016.
In South Korea, Spavor attended Kangwon National University and worked for the Korea Tourism Organization and Seoul Tourism Organization.
He also was a council member of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch from 2010 to 2013, giving lectures and leading cultural excursions.
He gained attention for restoring and living in a hanok in Bugahyeon-dong in western Seoul, and appeared in a music video for the K-pop group SES.
From 2010 to 2013 Spavor worked for the Pyongyang Project, a Canadian non-profit that organized educational exchanges in North Koreans and provided scholarships for North Korean students overseas, and in 2015 he founded Paektu Cultural Exchange.
Spavor has strong personal ties with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
In September 2013, Spavor facilitated the second visit of Dennis Rodman to North Korea and became one of the few Westerners to have met Kim while in the city of Wonsan.
Spavor later organized Rodman’s 2014 visit.
Spavor has been involved in the financial development of Wonsan, which is a high priority for Kim Jong-un, who has invested at least $150 million into the city.
In December 2018, China detained Spavor and Michael Kovrig, another Canadian national, on charges of endangering state security.
The arrests came shortly after Canada had arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei, in what turned into an escalating diplomatic row between the two countries.
On August 10, 2021, a Chinese court sentenced Spavor to 11 years in prison and said that he would be deported, though it was unclear when.
With Meng Wanzhou’s case dropped, Spavor was released shortly after on September 24, 2021.