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Rice steps up rhetoric against ‘troubled state’ Iran

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 9:08 pm    Post subject: Rice steps up rhetoric against ‘troubled state’ Iran Reply with quote

Rice steps up rhetoric against ‘troubled state’ Iran

By Sundeep Tucker in Sydney and Andrew Yeh in Beijing
Published: March 16 2006 17:28 | Last updated: March 16 2006 17:28


Condoleezza Rice on Thursday raised the diplomatic temperature over the nuclear stand-off with Iran, accusing the country of lying about its activities and again calling it a “central banker to terrorism”.
The US secretary of state was speaking in Sydney at the start of a three-day official visit to Australia, which will include talks with Canberra and Japan over the vexed Iranian issue.

Ms Rice described Iran as a “troubled state” where an “unelected few repress the desires of its population”.

She said the US would work through the United Nations in an attempt to force the Iranians to allow inspections of their nuclear facilities. Ms Rice said: “I’m quite certain that the [UN’s] Security Council will find an appropriate vehicle for expressing again to the Iranians the demands . . . of the international community.”

She also underscored America’s concerns about the rapid development of China, urging Beijing to open up its economy and be “transparent” about the reasons for its military build-up, and acknowledged that the US-China relationship faced some “difficult issues”.

Ms Rice said: “I heard that there is going to be a 14 per cent increase in the Chinese defence budget. That’s a lot. China should undertake to be transparent about what their military build-up means.”

Qin Gang, Beijing’s foreign ministry spokesperson, res­ponded on Thursday, saying: “China has adopted a defensive national strategy – we have appropriate military transparency measures.

“China regularly publishes white papers on national defence in detail. More important, our national defence policy is totally transparent – it’s a defensive policy.”

Ms Rice also called on China to have an open trading policy, citing concerns about intellectual property rights, the fixed currency and continued government ownership of large parts of the economy.

On Saturday Ms Rice will meet John Howard, the Australia prime minister, in Melbourne before returning to Sydney for trilateral security talks on Saturday with Alexander Downer and Taro Aso, her Australian and Japanese counterparts respectively.

Ms Rice said: “The growth of the Chinese economy, if done in a rules-based way in which China is fully obeying the rules of the global economy, is a positive development for international growth and for the US.”

Mr Downer this week distanced Australia from Ms Rice’s recent hawkish comments that China could become a “negative force” in the region.

Standing alongside her in Sydney yesterday, Mr Downer said: “I think we feel comfortable with where the US is at in terms of its relationship with China.

“Our relationship with China has its own dynamics. We have our own issues.”

Australia has been careful not to antagonise China, which it views as a huge economic opportunity.

The two countries are negotiating a trade agreement and Canberra is poised to rubber-stamp the export of uranium to the Chinese mainland.
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