Friday, September 12, 2008

Australian FM denies Chinese involvement in its foreign policy

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith on Friday dismissed the notion that China was preventing Australia from exporting uranium to India and said the claim had been put to him during his ongoing visit to India.

"There is certainly no basis for it. It hasn't been expressed to me by the Indian government or Indian officials," Smith told Sky News.

"I have had that question raised of me at a public speech that I gave at one of the Indian think-tanks, and I made this point - people should not assume that just because the prime minister can speak Mandarin that in anyway influences our foreign policy approach."

Smith, who is in India on a five-day official visit, has reaffirmed that the Australian government will not allow uranium to be exported to a country that is not a part of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

"Our decision about uranium is as a result of a long-standing policy position of the Labor Party that we don't export uranium to a country that is not a party to the non-proliferation treaty," he said.

"It's not aimed at India, it's just a long-standing position which underpins and underlines our support of non-proliferation," he said.

"There is no doubt of course that India would prefer Australia had a different position on uranium. But there's more than one country that India can source its uranium from and it's just one aspect of a much broader and deeper relationship - economic, trade, investment, people to people - between Australia and India," Smith said.


No comments: