China tells Oz that it has sufficient evidence against Rio Tinto staff

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Beijing, July 22 (ANI): China has told Australia that it has sufficient evidence to prove Rio Tinto staff's involvement in espionage and bribery case.

"I've introduced the information about the case to him (Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith) and stressed we have sufficient evidence to show that people involved in the case have obtained our state secrets through illegal means," The Australian quoted He Yafei, as saying.

"The case has entered the legal process. I told him we aim to get an outcome from the case as soon as possible but of course we need to fully complete the legal process first," he added.

He met Smith last week on the sidelines of a meeting in Egypt and told him that the Rio case shouldn't hurt China-Australia relations.

"We, China, hope that wouldn't happen, and I believe Australia will also regard this as a standalone case and handle it appropriately," He said.

Australia has been taking every opportunity in meetings with Chinese officials to bring up the detention of four Rio employees in China, including Australian national Stern Hu, who are suspected of stealing state secrets.

At a separate media briefing, a senior official from China's industry ministry said the Rio case would be handled according to law.

Zhu Hongren, director of the Department of Operations Monitoring and Co-ordination at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said talks between Chinese steel companies and key iron-ore suppliers were still ongoing.

"We hope iron-ore suppliers and producers can reach an agreement on pricing as soon as possible that will allow both sides to maintain profits," said Zhu.

But recent reports suggest that as official price talks continue without any hint a resolution is near, miners are hammering out provisional deals with individual Chinese steel mills. (ANI)

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