The update comes in the midst of growing tensions between the two countries that include the chief financial officer of Chinese phone maker, Huawei, being detained in Vancouver on request of USA prosecutors (she is now facing extradition to the US for fraud charges) and the barring of three USA citizens from leaving China in November because of "economic crimes".
The publicised arrests of the three Canadians were widely seen as retaliation for Canada arresting Ms Meng, a move that infuriated Beijing. Most are detained over minor matters, the spokesperson added.
Cooper acknowledged there was discussion about whether the trip would go ahead given the current tensions, until the leader of the delegation, Liberal Sen. On Thursday, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang refused to elaborate on the allegations against the Canadians. Reacting to the news, the US State Department has issued its own warning. "Quite frankly, if there were safety issues or if it was deemed to not be beneficial, then we wouldn't be going".
In its previous travel advisory for China issued on January 22 a year ago, the State Department urged Americans to "exercise increased caution" in the country because of "the arbitrary enforcement of local laws and special restrictions on dual US-Chinese nationals".
The senator said the delegation's Chinese counterparts from the Canada-China Legislative Association paid a visit a few weeks ago, and Canada is now returning the favour.
By way of comparison, there are nearly 900 Canadians in a similar situation in the US. "At least" eight of those 13 have since been released, the Canadian government said in a statement, without disclosing what charges if any had been laid, Reuters reported.
"Without a doubt, these two Canadian citizens in China violated our country's laws and regulations, and are now undergoing investigation according to procedure", Prosecutor General Zhang Jun said during a briefing in Beijing.
He dismissed the latest USA travel advisory, saying that the large number of American visitors to China a year ago alone was proof that China was a safe country.
The latest advice also warns of "special restrictions" on those who hold dual US-Chinese citizenship. "It is not convenient to disclose more information now". Kovrig, who works for the International Crisis Group, and Spavor, who is frequently consulted on matters linked to North Korea, remain in custody for activities said to threaten national security.
China's chief prosecutor, Zhang Jun, told a separate briefing on Thursday that "without a doubt" Kovrig and Spavor broke the country's laws and are being investigated.
Malley said he has full confidence in the approach the government has taken. "Chinese citizens and US citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment".
Meng was released on a C$10m ($7.4m) bail on 11 December and is living in one of her two Vancouver homes as she fights extradition to the US.
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.
It says the bans have been used "coercively" to "lure individuals" back to the country.
Liu stressed that China is a country under the rule of law and will protect the interests of the parties concerned during the process.