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Rio Tinto arrest erodes Australia-China relations

Rio Tinto arrest erodes Australia-China relations article image

The arrest of four Rio Tinto employees - three in the mining company's Shanghai office and Australian executive Stern Hu - could damage the relationship between Australia and China. The Chinese government has confirmed the detention of four Rio Tinto staff on "irrefutable evidence" that the employees had "pried and stole Chinese state secrets for overseas, gravely harming China's economic interests and economic security," according to Qin Gang, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith has asked for additional information for the basis of Hu's detention and played down speculation that the arrest was related to the failed Chinalco deal earlier this year. China has not given Australia consular access to Hu.

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