"Quite frankly, if there were safety issues or if it was deemed to not be beneficial, then we wouldn't be going".
In its past travel advisory for China issued on January 22 a year ago, the State Department asked Americans to exercise increased caution in the nation as a result of the arbitrary enforcement of local laws and special restrictions on dual U.S.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has repeatedly called on China to release the men.
"We don't know what law the Chinese authorities are talking about", said Malley, who once served on U.S President Barack Obama's national security council.
"At least" eight of those 13 had since been released, the Canadian government said in a statement, without disclosing what charges if any have been laid.
Overall, there are about 200 Canadians who have been detained in China for a variety of alleged infractions who continue to face on-going legal proceedings. Kovrig and Spavor remain in custody.
"We have said here that these two Canadian citizens are under investigation in accordance with law for engaging in activities that undermine China's national security", said foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang.
December 12: China's foreign ministry says it has no information about Kovrig, but says the organization he worked with - the International Crisis Group - was not registered in China, making its activities in the country illegal.
The Chinese government has not drawn a direct link between the detention of any Canadian and Meng's arrest.
Those comments don't offer any new information for Kovrig's distressed family and friends, who still don't know why or for how long he's being detained, said Robert Malley, president of the Crisis Group. The move also comes amidst the arrest of the CFO of Huawei in Canada, who now faces extradition to the United States amid fraud charges. She was later released on bail pending her extradition hearing.
While Meng has had full access to lawyers and is able to see her family, Kovrig is being denied legal representation, isn't allowed to see family, and is limited to one consular visit a month, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.
December 21: Kovrig's employer, the International Crisis Group, says he has not been given access to a lawyer while in custody.
Canada has sought the support of key allies in pressuring China to release Kovrig and Spavor.
By way of comparison, there are nearly 900 Canadians in a similar situation in the US. Trudeau reaffirms Canada's commitment to the rule of law, "regardless of what goes on in other countries".