Aus-China ties hit a low over visa to Kadeer



Rebiya KadeerThe communist nation has effectively banned visits by senior officials and sanctioned a press campaign against Australia, angered by several recent decisions by the Kevin Rudd government, such as granting a visa to Kadeer, 'The Australian' reported.

China blames Kadeer for instigating violence during recent riots in its Muslim majority Xinjiang province which claimed about 200 lives.


Kadeer had attended the Melbourne International Film Festival this month.


It is believed that the Chinese have also intimated that they may not co-operate readily with

Australia over Asia Pacific regional architecture, which would make Prime Minister Rudd's plan for an Asia Pacific community difficult to achieve.


While Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith declined to comment on the Asia Pacific matter, his office confirmed that the visit by Chinese Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs He Yafei was cancelled over the grant of visa to Kadeer.


Experts have told the daily that the Chinese government was also extremely frustrated at their inability to influence the price of iron ore imports.

Yafei had been scheduled to attend the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Cairns, which began on August 5, but was replaced by the lowly ranked Wang Yongqiu, the special envoy for the Pacific Islands Forum.


It was also in marked contrast to India, which sent its Foreign Minister S M Krishna, and the US, which was represented by Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Kurt Campbell.


International delegates at the PIF interpreted this as a deliberate slight to Australia.


A spokesman for Smith told 'The Australian,' "We regret that the Chinese government has felt obliged to take these steps, since the government's position on the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region is clear."


A motion moved on behalf of the government in the Senate on Monday reiterated Canberra's support for a one-China policy and said that it considered Xinjiang to be part of China.


However, he also said the government had no evidence that Kadeer was a terrorist as accused by China.


The souring of relations has prompted a major Chinese government policy think tank to warn Chinese companies about investing in Australia.

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