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Australia calls its ambassador to China for urgent summit news
20 August 2009

Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd has called the country's ambassador to China, Geoff Raby, back to Canberra for an urgent summit as Sino-Australian relations continue to deteriorate with the country's sate-run English-language newspaper accusing Canberra of being leader of an anti-China league and siding with terrorists.

Raby was asked to return in the middle of resources minister Martin Ferguson's equally sudden visit to promote the $50 billion natural gas deal between the North West.

Shelf Gorgon project and PetroChina. Ferguson is also to meet China's top economic chief, Zhang Ping. The trip is seen as an effort to cool rising diplomatic tensions.

Raby's return comes after Australian foreign minister Stephen Smith's defence of the government granting a visa to exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, who has been branded as a terrorist by Chinese authorities. She is accused of masterminding the bloody riots in Xinjiang last month that left almost 200 people dead.

China cancelled the visit of its vice-foreign minister He Yafei who was to attend the Pacific-Asia Dialogue in Australia over the issue. In a strongly worded editorial in the main state-run English language newspaper China Daily, China blamed Australia on several issues that have strained relations between the two nations.

Apart from Kadeer's visit the Chinese are also furious about the defence white paper released in May and their inability to secure better prices from Australian iron ore miners and the reaction to the incarceration of Australian Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu.

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Australia calls its ambassador to China for urgent summit