China urges no politicalization of Rio Tinto case

20:26, March 18, 2010      

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China does not want the Rio Tinto case to be politicalized and negatively affect China-Australia relations, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Thursday.

Qin's remarks came after Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's comment Monday that the "world will be watching" the trial.

The trial of Australian national Stern Hu and three Chinese colleagues will open in Shanghai Monday.

Chinese authorities arrested the four Rio Tinto employees on charges of stealing state secrets last year. The Number One branch of the Shanghai People's Procuratorate charged them with bribery and obtaining commercial secrets in February.

At a regular press briefing, Qin urged all parties to respect the authority of the court, saying they should not start making comments and disturb the legal handling of the case by Chinese authorities before it opens.

Qin said Chinese authorities would handle the case in line with legal procedures and consular agreements with Australia.

In response to a question that Australian diplomats are to be excluded from part of the trial concerning commercial secrets, Qin said China's sovereign rights of justice should not be confused with its consular agreements with Australia.

He said the legal rights of defendants would be safeguarded, adding that China had been in constant contact with Australia on the issue.

Source: Xinhua

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