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Australia and China foreign ministers to hold -

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PETER CAVE: Two-and-a-half weeks after the detention of Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu in China, the
Foreign Affairs Minister will be talking to his Chinese counterpart about the case.

The Opposition has been urging Stephen Smith and the Prime Minister to raise the matter directly
with their counterparts.

Mr Hu hasn't been charged but Chinese officials continue to say that they have a very strong case.

Our chief political correspondent Lyndal Curtis reports.

LYNDAL CURTIS: It's later than the Opposition wanted but Stephen Smith is going one better than the
Coalition calls for him to pick up the phone and speak to his Chinese opposite number.

He's told Sky News he'll be talking face-to-face to China's Foreign Minister during the day at the
ASEAN meeting both are attending in Thailand.

STEPHEN SMITH: I expect in the course of the day to speak to Foreign Minister Yang and I'm very
happy at the end of the day to let people know what's occurred.

LYNDAL CURTIS: China's Vice Foreign Minister, who Mr Smith met last week, is quoted in Chinese
media as saying Stern Hu's case will be handled in accordance with the law and the Australian side
should look at is as an individual case and treat it properly.

Mr Smith has acknowledged the matter is now one for the Chinese legal process although he's urged
China to move that process along.

STEPHEN SMITH: I've often made the point in this case and in others that when Australians go
overseas and they get themselves into difficulty, they have to deal and we have to deal with the
law and the practice of the country that we're in.

So under Chinese law he is detained. There is no set timetable for the bringing of a charge.

But I will continue to make the representation that I've been making - not just the representation
that I've made to Vice Minister He, but our officials have been making as well in Canberra, in
Beijing and also in Shanghai - that this is a matter which it is in everyone's interest to deal
with expeditiously.

LYNDAL CURTIS: He's repeated his assessment that the matter will not quickly be resolved.

STEPHEN SMITH: This is a difficult and sensitive matter. It's a complex case. We have a much better
idea now as to the circumstances relating to Mr Hu's detention but it's not going to be solved by
one phone call as some people have been asserting or indeed one meeting or one conversation between
a couple of ministers.

As I've said you know this may well go for some time and our officials will continue to be
assiduous in the representations we make about Mr Hu and his situation.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Mr Smith isn't though willing to speculate about any penalty Mr Hu might face.

STEPHEN SMITH: If and when he is charged we will then have a much clearer idea about the precise
nature of the charge obviously but also what possible penalties that he may be up for.

But I don't want us to get ahead of ourselves. There's no point contemplating the range of
penalties when we currently don't have any charges that have been laid against him.

LYNDAL CURTIS: While the relationship with China may be strained the Foreign Affairs Minister has
given his strong backing to Indonesia in the wake of the terrorist bombings in Jakarta.

STEPHEN SMITH: Indonesia has got a very good track record and we're very pleased with their
efforts, on the one hand on bringing terrorists to justice - they've arrested over 200 terrorists
over the recent period, the last half-a-dozen years or so and brought more to justice than any
other country; so we're happy with that.

And we're also very happy with the cooperation that we get with them at Australian Federal Police
and other agency level.

LYNDAL CURTIS: He's praised Indonesia's efforts to promote understanding between different
religious faiths and tackle radicalism.

STEPHEN SMITH: Across the board, whether it's their education system, whether its
counter-radicalisation, whether it's the efforts they make on interfaith dialogue whether it's the
counter-terrorism efforts they make through their police and intelligence and other operational
agencies, we are very pleased with the work they do.

And for ourselves, as we have repeatedly, we continue to regrettably make the point that there
continues to be a risk of terrorism in Indonesia, in Jakarta and Bali, and we strongly condemn the
events that have occurred and we continue to urge people to be vigilant about that.

PETER CAVE: The Foreign Minister Stephen Smith; our reporter in Canberra, Lyndal Curtis.