Oz national`s trial should not affect bilateral ties: China
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Last Updated: Thursday, March 18, 2010, 21:24
  
Beijing: China has said the trial of Australian national Stern Hu on charges of stealing state secrets last year should not be politicised as it would be dealt strictly according to the law.

With the trial against Stern Hu and three Chinese colleagues working for Australian mine company Rio Tinto set to open on Monday, China said the case would be dealt according to law.

China underlined that it should not be politicised to negatively affect the ties between Beijing and Canberra.

The court case against Rio Tinto is strictly commercial, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said replying to a question.

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

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

Chinese authorities arrested the four Rio Tinto employees on charges of stealing state secrets last year and they were charged with bribery and obtaining commercial secrets.

Qin said all parties should respect the authority of the court. There should not be any comments and attempts to disturb the legal handling of the case by Chinese authorities before trial opens.

The foreign ministry official 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.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, March 18, 2010, 21:24


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