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Tonight - the Opposition keeps up the heat on the Prime Minister over his links to a Beijing

Well, clearly there is more to this story than Kevin Rudd is letting on.

But it turns out Mr Tang also built up very close links with the Coalition when it was in power.

I would suggest that we have here a modest case of double standards.


Good evening, welcome to Lateline, I'm Tony Jones. Also tonight - Kevin Rudd will be the first
Australian Prime Minister to attend a NATO summit when he travels to Bucharest in early April. He
gets a seat at the table because Australia has the largest non-NATO troop deployment in
Afghanistan. One major concern for the Government is the opium trade which is helping to pay for
the Taliban insurgents Australian troops are fighting. The problem is NATO does not yet see the
trade as its military problem.

Frankly, it is the job of the Afghans to lead in this area. It is NATO's job to support and it is
the nations of the international community's job to provide the money for the Afghan effort. But we
do not see NATO soldiers pulling poppy out of the ground.

Our interview with the US ambassador to NATO, Victoria Nuland, in Brussels. That's coming up.
First, our other headlines. The cost of going green - the man who's designing our carbon trading
scheme admits the poor will pay the biggest price. Australia's largest terrorism trial on hold as a
judge rules the accuse face such harsh prison conditions they can't get a fair hearing. And on
'Lateline Business', the rogue trader -

PM dogged by questions over China scandal

PM dogged by questions over China scandal

Broadcast: 20/03/2008

Reporter: Ben Worsley

The Coalition has continued its pursuit of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd over his connection to the
Chinese company Beijing AustChina Technology and its boss, Ian Tang.


TONY JONES: Well it didn't quite backfire, but it didn't get very far either.

The Coalition today continued its pursuit of the Prime Minister over his connection to the Chinese
company, Beijing AustChina Technology, and its boss, Ian Tang.

Kevin Rudd hit back with claims of double standards, citing documents he says prove senior figures
of the previous government also had close dealings with the business. The issue dominated the last
day of Parliament for nearly two months.

From Canberra, Ben Worsley reports.

BEN WORSLEY: Four days and no letting up.

PETER DUTTON, OPPOSITION FRONTBENCHER: Really we need to ask some more questions about exactly what
the company got out of paying all of this money to help Labor politicians fly free to China.

BRONWYN BISHOP, OPPOSITION FRONTBENCHER: I think it adds to the question of the Prime Minister's
judgment, which seems to be very poor.

SENATOR GEORGE BRANDIS: Kevin Rudd is starting to look increasingly like the Manchurian candidate.

BEN WORSLEY: The Coalition spent the week attacking Kevin Rudd's connection to AustChina and its
boss Ian Tang. Sixteen trips for senior Labor Opposition MPs paid for by AustChina. And now
revelations Kevin Rudd spoke at the launch of a retail development involving the company in 2006.

JAMES BIDGOOD, BACKBENCHER: They're trying to build a mountain out of a molehill. That's what
they're doing. A mountain out of a molehill. Kevin Rudd has been honest and all the other ministers
as well, totally disclosed, and they're clutching at straws.

TONY ABBOTT, FRONTBENCHER: Clearly there is more to this story than Kevin Rudd is letting on.

BEN WORSLEY: Clearly. And today Kevin Rudd was more than happy to elaborate. Not on his
connections, but the Coalition's.

KEVIN RUDD, PRIME MINISTER: I think we have a case of someone, namely the Member for Goldstein's
credibility, collapsing in a heap.

BEN WORSLEY: Andrew Robb has lead the charge against the Prime Minister.

ANDREW ROBB, OPPOSITION FRONTBENCHER: And I ask again, what is your understanding of what Mr Tang

KEVIN RUDD: Today he has the audacity to go on the national media and say, "About this company, we
don't know about this company. We don't know about this company". The Honourable Member for
Goldstein, the Government of which you are part, knew a flaming lot about this company.

BEN WORSLEY: Kevin Rudd today came armed with letters from the Howard era. One from the Australian
Embassy in Beijing to the Mayor, urging help for an AustChina development.

KEVIN RUDD: As you may be aware, the Australia Deputy Prime Minister, the Honourable Mark Vale MP,
visited the project during his December 2006 visit to Beijing.

BEN WORSLEY: He tabled a number of letters from Aus Trade about the company and he read one more
written to the company itself.

KEVIN RUDD: I look forward to Beijing AustChina Technology Limited achieving great success in its
endeavours and would encourage you to continue your close working relationship with the Government.
Signed, Richard Alston, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts.

KEVIN ANDREWS, OPPOSITION BACKBENCHER: The Prime Minister reading out letters from the past which
he's dug out over the last 24 hours is not answering the question of what he knew about this

BEN WORSLEY: No, but it did help the Government deflect the heat. So did this vision of John Howard
meeting Ian Tang in Beijing in 2002.

KEVIN RUDD: I would suggest that we have here a modest case of double standards.

BEN WORSLEY: If anything has come of this, it's a hint from the Prime Minister that he'll review
the private sponsorship of Parliamentary travel. Parliament now rest for seven weeks, in which time
Kevin Rudd will spend 19 days overseas, before Labor's first budget in 12 years is delivered in

Ben Worsley, Lateline.

Aust will face higher electricity, petrol costs: Garnaut

Aust will face higher electricity, petrol costs: Garnaut

Broadcast: 20/03/2008

Reporter: Chris Uhlmann

The Federal Government's climate change guru, Professor Ross Garnaut, is warning we will be hit
with higher prices for electricity and petrol as the Government moves to cut greenhouse gas


TONY JONES: The Federal Government's chief climate change economist has painted a grim picture of
how much it's going to cost households to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Professor Ross Garnaut is warning we'll be hit with higher prices for electricity and petrol. And
he also says that coal producing regions may have to be compensated for loss of income.

The impact on families and jobs will become even clearer in the not too distant future, as the
Government moves to get its carbon trading scheme up and running in two years time.

Chris Uhlmann reports.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The nations expert on the economics of climate change has sketched out what a carbon
trading scheme will look like and what it will mean.

ROSS GARNAUT, CLIMATE CHANGE ECONOMIST: The Emissions Trading Scheme is meant to minimise the cost
the Australian's of adjusting to a low emissions economy.

CHRIS UHLMANN: But the costs will still be significant.

ROSS GARNAUT: Electricity prices will rise. Petrol will rise.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Ross Garnaut's plan would set a cap on carbon emissions and target date. It would
set a yearly trajectory and then auction carbon permits to match it and then it would slowly reduce
the number permits until the target is reached. That will raise billions of dollars, but there's a

ROSS GARNAUT: The claims on Government associated with the introduction of this emission trading
scheme will also be very large.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The poor will be hardest hit by price hikes and have to be compensated. And there
are other losers. Communities with jobs tied up in coal-based electricity generation face a grim
future if no way is found to bury carbon.

ROSS GARNAUT: There could be some regions in Australia and some communities in Australia that are
disproportionably hit.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Rising consumer costs and communities facing job loses are the sorts of things that
keep politicians awake at night.

PENNY WONG, CLIMATE CHANGE MINISTER: We will ensure that our scheme addresses the impact on
families, on households; particularly low income households.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Taking carbon out of Australia's economy is a massive change to the way the nation
does business. But it's coming soon. The Government wants an emissions trading scheme up and
running in two years. It doesn't underestimate the task.

PENNY WONG: We will be very conscious of the impacts of various sectors of the Australian economy
and community.

CHRIS UHLMANN: And all the pain will only be meaningful if every nation does its bit. Chris
Uhlmann, Lateline.

Journalists' union withdraws controversial submission

Journalists' union withdraws controversial submission

Broadcast: 20/03/2008

Reporter: John Stewart

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) has withdrawn a submission to the Federal
Government recommending that reporters notify police when entering Aboriginal communities protected
by the permit system, after senior reporters in QLD and the NT spoke out against the proposal.


TONY JONES: The journalists' union has tonight withdrawn a submission to the Federal Government
recommending that reporters notify police and councils when entering Aboriginal communities
protected by the permit system.

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance backed down on its recommendations after senior
reporters in Queensland and the Northern Territory spoke out against the proposal.

John Stewart reports.

JOHN STEWART: Since the 1970s a system of permits has been used to restrict access to Aboriginal
communities in the Northern Territory. Last year the minister for Aboriginal affairs, Mal Brough,
removed the permit system during the Federal Government's intervention into Northern Territory
Aboriginal communities. Mal Brough believed the permits were protecting paedophiles and hiding a
culture of widespread child sexual abuse. Now the Rudd Labor Government has reimposed the permit
system, but exempted journalists. But under that relaxed new protocol for reporters, the
journalists' union, the MEAA, is suggested new controls.

MEDIA ENTERTAINMENT AND ARTS ALLIANCE: On arrival in a community media representatives will report
to the police and council at the first opportunity and inform them what they intend doing in the

drafted is that, you say I'm here, I'm a journalist, I'm doing a story. I'm here as a journalist.
That's the intention.

JOHN STEWART: Award-winning journalist Paul Toohey is outraged at the suggestion that reporters
would have to report to the police when they arrive at an Aboriginal community.

PAUL TOOHEY, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: Suggesting that upon arrival in a community that we report to
police and in the MEAA's wording, outline our intentions to the police before getting to work, now
to me that is an unthinkable proposition. For a start we might be looking into the police.

JOHN STEWART: It's a sentiment shared by other senior reporters throughout the country including
four time Walkley Award winner, Tony Koch.

TONY KOCH, THE AUSTRALIAN: As for getting permission, this is not communist Russia, that's just a
nonsense suggestion.

JOHN STEWART: The permit system does have strong support from the Central Land Council as a way of
protecting Aboriginal communities from outsiders. The council argues the permits also protect the
privacy of Aboriginal people from media intrusion. But reporters like the Australian Newspaper's
Tony Koch, have little time for the restrictions.

TONY KOCH: These are just people, they are fellow Australians and you just be polite and decent
about it. And there's no need for permits at all, that's just an absolute nonsense.

PAUL TOOHEY: I will simply ignore it. I just wont adhere to it. And nor will anyone else. They're
going to back on this. They're going to have to back down.

JOHN STEWART: Tonight the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance did back down, announcing the
submission will be withdrawn pending further consultation with the union members.

John Stewart, Lateline.

Judge puts Australia's largest terrorism trial on hold

Judge puts Australia's largest terrorism trial on hold

Broadcast: 20/03/2008

Reporter: Emma O'Sullivan

Supreme Court Justice Bernard Bongiorno has put Australia's largest terrorism trial on hold, and
demanded that prison authorities improve conditions for the men.


TONY JONES: A Supreme Court judge has put Australia's largest terrorism trial on hold and demanded
that prison authorities improve conditions for the men. Justice Bernard Bongiorno has agreed with
defence lawyers that the men's incarceration in Victoria is having such an effect on them that the
trial is currently unfair. Emma O'Sullivan reports.

EMMA O'SULLIVAN: Defence lawyers for the men were pleased their clients will be moved out of the
strictest prison regime in Victoria.

JIM KENNAN SC, DEFENCE LAWYER: This is an important recognition by the Victorian Supreme Court of
the right to a fair trial.

EMMA O'SULLIVAN: Their clients have pleaded not guilty to forming a terrorist organisation. The 12
have all been remanded in custody for at least two years ahead of their trial, which started before
a jury last month. Lawyers argued the men weren't being given a fair trial because the conditions
of their incarceration were affecting their ability to concentrate and give instructions. The court
heard the men are housed in single cells in the maximum security Acacia Unit at Barwon Prison.
They're handcuffed and shackled when they're brought to court and strip searched twice a day.

Justice Bongiorno told the court he'd visited Acacia and inspected the prison van before he made
his ruling. He said neither prosecutors or Corrections Victoria had presented evidence to explain
why the men were classified as high security prisoners. He's demanded changes for the men before
the trial can continue, including that they be incarcerated for the rest of the trial at the
Melbourne Assessment Prison, that their out of cell hours on days when they do not attend court be
not less than 10 and that they otherwise be subjected to conditions of incarceration, not more
onerous that those normally imposed on ordinary remand prisoners.

The prosecution had previously criticised the defence for making the application about the
conditions after the trial had started. The trial has been adjourned until 31 March, or until the
Department of Justice has informed the court the changes have been made.

Emma O'Sullivan, Lateline.

Rudd to assess long-term NATO strategy in Afghanistan

Rudd to assess long-term NATO strategy in Afghanistan

Broadcast: 20/03/2008

Reporter: Michael Troy

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says the NATO-led force could win the war in Afghanistan, but an
effective long-term strategy is needed.


TONY JONES: Canberra has signalled it's no longer willing to write a blank cheque in its commitment
to Afghanistan. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday said the NATO-led force could win the war in
Afghanistan but an effective long-term strategy was still needed. Mr Rudd is travelling to
Bucharest in a couple of weeks to take part in a summit on Afghanistan. The NATO summit will be the
first for an Australian Prime Minister and Mr Rudd says he wants to make sure NATO's plans are well
thought out.

Michael Troy reports.

MICHAEL TROY: On 7 October 2001, the Bush Administration's war on terrorism officially began with
the invasion of Afghanistan. At the time the stated purpose was to capture Osama bin Laden and
remove the Taliban regime which had been providing a safe haven for Al Qaeda. Six and a half years
on and the end of the war is still nowhere in sight, prompting Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to
yesterday call on NATO to set benchmarks for success.

KEVIN RUDD, PRIME MINISTER: This Government has committed itself to Afghanistan for the long haul.
But for that to be delivered in the long haul, this Government must have confidence that there is
an agreed strategy on the part of all the combatant and participating states that there is a
strategy to secure success.

MICHAEL TROY: Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon earlier this year visited Afghanistan and said the
shortcomings were obvious.

JOEL FITZGIBBON, DEFENCE MINISTER: Quite frankly, the progress at the moment is not good enough. We
lack common objectives, we lack an overall strategic and coherent plan.

MICHAEL TROY: The initial attacks remove the Taliban from power, but Taliban forces have regained
strength, with three Australian troops killed in battles during the last year. If Australia is to
continue with its troop commitment, Kevin Rudd wants some progress.

KEVIN RUDD: I want to be confident that NATO collectively and the European contributors to it have
embarked upon a long-term strategy to secure success in Afghanistan and against fixed benchmarks.

JOEL FITZGIBBON: We can't be expected to do more when so many under-performing NATO countries are
not prepared to do more.

MICHAEL TROY: Now there's an explosion of opium and heroin production, with a record 8,000 tonne
crop cultivated in the south this year, more than enough to supply twice the world market. On
Lateline two weeks ago the executive director of the United Nations' Office on Drugs and Crime
Antonia Maria Costa, said he had been pushing NATO to act.

ANTONIA MARIA COSTA, UN OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME: The processing of opium into heroin in the labs,
the trafficking through convoys, warlords in assisting and managing these convoys, all of these are
activities which are criminal in nature. They are highly localised, they have no sociopolitical
impact and, therefore, I've been asking NATO to take out these various establishments, individuals
and the labs.

MICHAEL TROY: As to whether the war is winnable?

KEVIN RUDD: I believe it's only responsible to remain militarily engaged in a conflict where you're
putting our men and women in uniform on the line, is if you believe it is winnable.

MICHAEL TROY: Kevin Rudd and his defence minister will put Australia's case to the NATO summit in
Bucharest on 2 April.

Michael Troy, Lateline.

Tony Jones talks to US Ambassador to NATO, Victoria Nuland

Tony Jones talks to US Ambassador to NATO, Victoria Nuland

Broadcast: 20/03/2008

Reporter: Tony Jones

Lateline is joined by the US Ambassador to NATO Victoria Nuland, to talk about the summit of NATO


TONY JONES: One of the key organisers of that critical Bucharest summit to examine where the
Afghanistan strategy is working and where it's failing is Ambassador Victoria Nuland, the US
permanent representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and she joined us from Brussels
just a short time ago. Ambassador Nuland, thanks for joining us.


TONY JONES: Will the Prime Minister get what he wants at the Bucharest summit, a common agreed
strategy for the military campaign and the civilian reconstruction in Afghanistan?

VICTORIA NULAND: He will, Tony. We are working at NATO headquarters with the NATO 26 and also all
of our partners in the mission, notably including Australia on a vision statement for the heads of
state and government to release at Bucharest which first and foremost remind our publics why we are
there. That this is to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a haven for terror, because our
own security is tied to their security. The document will also go through the successes that the
Afghans have had since we've been helping them and since the liberation and that the mission has
had and then we'll set forth some shared goals, both in the security arena, in the governance arena
and in the development arena. And our hope is that it will be something that will be useful not
only at the summit table but at the kitchen table.

TONY JONES: I am sure you'd be aware of the concerns of the Australian Prime Minister. Mr Rudd said
yesterday that his Defence Minister and his Government were staggered when they came to power to
find there was no commonly agreed strategy. Do you agree that that's the case?

VICTORIA NULAND: Well, first let me take this opportunity Tony to thank the Australian Government,
to thank Australian troops for the superb job that they do in Afghanistan and that they've done
with us in Afghanistan from the beginning. But particularly now that they're making this
contribution to strengthen the NATO-led mission. You know, NATO has had a strategy from the
beginning. I think the issue here is whether it needs to evolve now. We have been in Afghanistan,
throughout Afghanistan as NATO for a year and a half. Conditions continue to evolve both in the
east and the south and so we need to use the opportunity of this summit to update our view and we
will do that together with Prime Minister Rudd, and we very much welcome the fact that he is coming
to Bucharest. A new Prime Minister to join with the other heads of state and government in looking
hard at Afghanistan and making common commitments.

TONY JONES: I'm sure you'd be aware that Mr Rudd spoke directly to President Bush on the telephone
recently and expressed some of these specific concerns to the President. Have those concerns
filtered down the chain of command to you at NATO headquarters?

VICTORIA NULAND: I work very closely with your terrific ambassador here in Brussels, Alan Thomas.
We are working together on the vision document. We are also working together on the kinds of goals
in terms of troop commitments, training commitment s that we hope to have in Bucharest. So I think
we all have the same ambitions here, which is to use the opportunity of the summit sitting with
Karzai, sitting with Ban Ki Moon and sitting with all the partners and heads of state and
government to pause, look at how we're doing and set a strong course for the coming period. Now
that we have a new Australian Government this is an opportunity for that government to put its mark
on the strategy with us.

TONY JONES: Australia's in a rather unique situation here, isn't it? It's the largest non NATO
troop deployment in Afghanistan and yet, it has not until now been inside the NATO tent where
strategy is made, and I think that was the shock that the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister
had. That whilst they were part of this big operation, they weren't contributing to any ideas on
how it went ahead?

VICTORIA NULAND: You know, I think that's an overstatement. We have consulted actively with
Australia from the beginning and we certainly do in US Australian channels and that works very
well. If I could put it a different way, as I said, I think that as we head into 2008 and as we
seek to strengthen security in Afghanistan and strengthen security in Afghanistan and strengthen
the ISAF mission so that we can prepare for elections next year in Afghanistan, it's a good time
for all of us to improve the strategy. To polish it and to ensure that we're not just talking about
what we do militarily. We are combining the military line with development, with governance, which
as you know is new for NATO. It's not new for Australia. But you are, in fact, as a partner
contributing to the development of this common comprehensive approach and we value that very much.

TONY JONES: Indeed, but Mr Rudd gave an example yesterday. He said for example Australian troops
might be sent into a difficult area to clean it out of Taliban fighters, then they leave and
nothing happens on the ground in terms of civilian aid and reconstruction to secure the area in a
civilian sense for proper governance. So inevitably the Taliban come back and the problem exists
again and as he puts it, it's like being on a merry go ground. Is that the sort of area you'd want
to see changed significantly?

VICTORIA NULAND: I think we share the view that as we clear, we also have to be prepared to hold
and then to build. This is the same experience that the US and Australia have had in Iraq and if
you are going to have that effect, you have to plan from the very beginning before military
operations start after we clear, who is going to come and hold, and have we worked with the
district heads, with the tribunal chiefs to ensure that we are developing in a way that meets the
needs of the population? So that their quality of life is better after we have cleared the area
than it was when they were being intimidated and dominated by the Taliban. So that is what we are
working on as NATO in Oruzgan province where Australia leads with the Dutch forces and the US is
also present. Australia's largely in a combat role and then the US and Dutch development and
governance workers come in behind. But yes, we are looking to strengthen that comprehensive
approach. But I don't think it's fair to say that in Oruzgan we have not had significant successes.
Clearing areas, holding areas and then beginning development. I do think, though, we're going to
need more police, we're going to need more development support going far.

TONY JONES: Would you like to see more Australian troops?

VICTORIA NULAND: Again, the contribution that Australia makes is absolutely phenomenal in
Afghanistan. You are the largest non NATO troop contributor. Your forces are terrific. Your
trainers are terrific. In Bucharest we have, as you know from Washington, been asking particularly
all our NATO allies as we strengthen our own contribution, to dig deep and do as much more as they
can. We look forward to celebrating the Australian contribution at Bucharest and frankly, making
sure that all of our European allies appreciate how much you are doing. Not only for after, but to
support this alliance that as you have said, you're a partner of, but not a member of.

TONY JONES: Ambassador, we can see why you're a career diplomat. Obviously the way you put things,
but on another front on which the Australians believe the strategy is failing is the war on the
opium trade, which is actually the trade itself helps to fund the insurgency. Yet this has not been
a priority for NATO strategy at all. Why is that?

VICTORIA NULAND: Tony, again I think one of the frustrations that you all may be all feeling is
that the NATO alliance is a political military organisation, it does not as such, have a
development arm or a counter narcotics arm. So NATO can, as you say, clear and hold, but we have to
depend on the nations, the United Nations, the EU to do the building. So as we look at narcotics,
what we are seeing in Afghanistan is that the situation on the narcotics front is improving where
security is strong.

Essentially in the northern half of the country, and frankly in the east now where the United
States has doubled its commitment both in terms of combat power and in terms of development and
counter narcotics work and put it together. But the majority of the opium is now in the south and
it's in the most insecure areas Helmand Province, Oruzgan province, so going forward we have to do
a better job. The NATO and partner, the ISAF security mission, combining the security we provide
with efforts to offer farmers alternatives, efforts to ensure drug king pins are arrested, locked
up, stay in jail. So this is the comprehensive approach that we have to apply. We recently put some
US DEA guys into the PRT in Oruzgan so that we can help strengthen our combined US, Dutch
Australian effort in the counter narcotics area, but we have to do better along these lines,
particularly in the south of Afghanistan. But it starts with security, which is why the Australian
contribution to security is so important.

TONY JONES: All right, we spoke recently to the executive director of the United Nations' Office on
Drugs and Crime, Antonia Maria Costa. I'm sure you're aware of his concerns. He's been calling on
NATO to take the problem much more seriously, to take out heroin labs, the trafficking convoys and
the war lords who are behind all of that. When will that start to happen, do you believe?

VICTORIA NULAND: About nine months ago the NATO secretary general and the supreme allied commander
of NATO joined by the NAC and partners sent an instruction to ISAF to maximise the contribution
that it makes to helping the Afghans both on the interdiction side, helping to share intelligence,
provide support to the Afghans as they go to make cases and arrests against drug king pins. But
also to support the Afghan counter narcotic forces when they go in to make busts, when they go in
to eradicate. But frankly, it is the job of the Afghans to lead in this area. It is NATO's job to
support and it is the nations of the international community's job to provide the money for the
Afghan effort. But we do not see NATO soldiers pulling poppy out of the grown. We need to be
providing the security so that the Afghans can do that job.

TONY JONES: Okay, what about the job of finding and destroying the heroin labs which are operating
now and which are producing funds for the Taliban who are fighting our own forces? And what about
the interdiction of the convoys, you talked about the arrest of the warlords, but what about
isolating and finding all of those people and catching them, because we must know where they are?

VICTORIA NULAND: What this new order allows us to do is work more intensively to share
intelligence. ISAF intelligence with the Afghans to support them as they plan these kinds of raids
and interdiction operations that you're talking about. When we have the means to help them get
where they need to go, provide outer ring security. So I think NATO is playing a stronger role, but
the nations have to play a stronger role in enabling the Afghans to do the job. I would say in
regard to Mr Kostya we are also working hard with the UN urging it to open more offices in the
south and east of Afghanistan where we need the most help from the UN along these lines, as well.
And we are grateful that Ban Ki Moon is coming to Bucharest and that's something that we can talk
about at the summit.

TONY JONES: That's all we have time for now Ambassador Nuland, but we do thank you very much for
taking the time out of what is a very busy schedule ahead of this summit, to come and talk to us
tonight. Thank you.

VICTORIA NULAND: Thank you Tony, and we look forward to seeing Prime Minister Rudd at Bucharest. It
sends a great signal to the Afghans and to the global community.

TONY JONES: Thanks indeed.

Attention off violence as Taiwan votes

Attention off violence as Taiwan votes

Broadcast: 20/03/2008

Reporter: Shane McLeod

Taiwan's voters go to the polls this weekend to choose a new president, taking China's focus off
the violence in Tibet.


TONY JONES: While China's attention has been focused on the violence in Tibet, another of its most
fractious neighbours is gearing up for election. Taiwan's voters go to the polls this is weekend to
choose a new president. The situation in Tibet has given Taiwan's ruling party the DPP a final
chance to cling to power, with warnings of what better ties with the mainland could mean for the
island. North Asia correspondent Shane McLeod reports from Taipei.

SHANE MCLEOD: In the highly choreographed campaigns of Taiwanese politics there are no points for
subtlety. At this rally for the ruling party a Trojan horse carries a mother load of toxic Chinese
food and a terror-inducing Chinese president, a warning of the perils of closer ties with the
mainland. The Democratic Progressive Party is putting its faith in Frank Hsieh, the former mayor of
the southern city of Kaohsiung. He plans to continue the provocative policies of the outgoing
president, Chen Shui-bian. But the DPP's eight-year control of the presidency looks to be slipping
away. Earlier this year it was soundly defeated in parliamentary elections. And in the race for the
presidency, it's this man, Ma Ying Jeou, who appears to have the voters' attention. It's just eight
years since the nationalist party, the Kuomintang, was swept from office after 50 years of
authoritarian rule. Now it's on the verge of an unlikely comeback. In a future Ma administration,
Su Chi is likely to play a senior role in security policy.

SU CHI, OPPOSITION CAMPAIGNER: Taiwan has been caught in a self defeating paradigm. Confrontation
inside and confrontation outside, so very little got done in the past eight years.

SHANE MCLEOD: Policy on China has dominated the campaign. The outgoing president Chen Shui-bian has
provoked anger in Beijing with his campaign for recognition of Taiwan's de facto independence. He's
staging a referendum to seek support to rejoin the United Nations under the name of Taiwan, giving
up a 30-year campaign to be reinstated as the Republic of China. That's been condemned by both
Communist China and the United States. The Kuomintang says its policy on China is to reduce
confrontation by focusing on the so called three no's. No independence, no unification and no use
of force.

SU CHI: Put ourself in a neutral gear and do not rock the boat and try to seek, we call it a modus
vivendi with Beijing.

SHANE MCLEOD: But events in Tibet this week have given the ruling party some hope of stopping what
had seemed inevitable. Mr Hsieh has seized on the violence warning Taiwan it's an example of what
it could expect under reunification.

express concern, but in the process we also see once we open the gate for China, we may end up like

SHANE MCLEOD: Dr Ma, conscious of being labelled the pro-China candidate, has gone further,
suggesting he could boycott the Olympics if the violence worsens.

SU CHI: The urgency there for Taiwan is to minimise the PRC threat, and that's what we intend to
do. That's what we intend to do skilfully and not like a bull in a China market.

policy for both candidates are quite similar but in this campaign both seem to make them very
different, look different, sound different.

SHANE MCLEOD: Opinion polls can't be published in the final week of the campaign. But the last
public surveys suggested Dr Ma is strongly in the lead, but that was before the violence in Tibet
and no one can be certain of the effect that will have on Taiwan's voters. The ruling party
supporters don't lack for enthusiasm, but the party's going to have to stage a massive comeback to
extend its eight year grip on the presidency.

Shane McLeod, Lateline.

That's all from us. 'Lateline Business' coming up in just a moment. If you'd like to look back at
tonight's interview with Ambassador Nuland or any of our stories or transcripts don't forget you
can visit our website. There'll be no program tomorrow night on the good Friday holiday. I'll be
back on Monday with our special guest Christopher Hitchins to talk about the US elections. Now
here's 'Lateline Business' with Ali Moore.