Gillard downplays WikiLeaks contents about Sino-Aus ties

Last Updated: Monday, December 6, 2010 - 22:07

Melbourne: Australian Prime Minister Julia
Gillard on Monday tried to downplay the contents of a leaked US
diplomatic cable concerning China, saying she does not expect
bilateral ties to be affected by the WikiLeaks revelations.

A leaked secret US cable showing Kevin Rudd suggested
force should be used against China will do nothing to hurt
Australian-Sino relations, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said.

Cables released by WikiLeaks have revealed that the
then prime minister warned US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton in March last year to be prepared to use force against
China "if everything goes wrong".

Rudd also told Clinton during a meeting in Washington
that China was "paranoid" about Taiwan and Tibet, and that his
ambitious plan for an Asia-Pacific community was intended to
blunt Chinese influence.

But Australia had a strong and frank relationship with
China in which it could express its views and opinions, she
said.

"Expressing our views and opinions being frank doesn`t
hurt the relationship," Gillard told ABC Television.

"I don`t anticipate these reports will make any
difference at all to our relationship with China."

when he was the
prime minister.

According to media reports, Rudd said Australia had a
"robust" diplomatic relationship with China and would not
contact Beijing to smooth over relations following the leaks
of a conversation he had with Clinton.

Rudd said Australia had a two-pronged approach to
China - helping it take part in more regional and global
bodies, and being a frank friend.

"We have been plain with our Chinese friends over the
last three years - where we have a disagreement we will ... be
firm about standing up for our values and our interests," Rudd
told reporters in Canberra today.

Asked about his comments on the use of force, Rudd
said it was Australia`s duty to "make provision for the
long-term defence of Australia`s national security interests".

"The business of diplomacy is not just to roll over
and have your tummy tickled," he said.

Rudd said WikiLeaks was making global diplomacy
difficult as big issues such as the Korean conflict arose.

"If diplomacy gets it wrong on that (Korea) we will
all pay a big price. So, these challenges don`t just go into
suspended animation while we work our way though this stuff,"
Mr Rudd said.

PTI



First Published: Monday, December 6, 2010 - 22:07

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