03 September 2009

Former Australian PM says Rudd right to issue Australia visa to Kadeer

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Former Australian prime minister John Howard has made an endorsement of his successor Kevin Rudd for his handling of China during the Australia visa furor over the Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer.

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Former Australian PM John Howard has commended the Rudd Government's handling of the Kadeer Australian Visa controversy.

John Howard was speaking at a Sydney lunch for the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Australia when he said: "Of course we had to give that lady a visa".

"I mean, you don't allow any country to tell you who you should give visas to."

The comments are in contrast to Howard's own former colleagues: the shadow foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop accused the Rudd Government of mudding the Kadeer Australian visa issue and former immigration minister Philip Ruddock said the Australian visa should not have been issued in the first place.

The Chinese Government's anger over the issuing of an Australian visa to Kadeer so that she could attend the Melbourne International Film Festival extended as far as cancelling a senior minister's visit and trying to prevent Kadeer from speaking in public.

When asked about the Chinese Government's response to issuance of the Australian visa for Kadeer, Howard said: ''Well, the Chinese were always going to do that. They are very clumsy, diplomatically.

"They've got this silly habit, if they don't want you to see someone, they say so - which means that you must see them."

Mr Howard, who was leader of Australia for 11 years, said China had adopted a similar strategy when Tibet's spirtual leader the Dali Lama visited Australia, failing to see that dictating diplomatic policy would not work.

"I think they got their noses out of joint over the Chinalco thing and some of the things they have done in response have been conditioned by that reaction."

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