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Rice Expects Wide-Ranging Security Talks with Australia, Japan


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says China is not the only focus of Saturday's security talks with Australia and Japan. Speaking in Sydney with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Rice says Iraq and nuclear proliferation will certainly figure on the agenda .

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rica says China's rise as a regional power will just be one among many issues on the agenda when she meets Saturday with the foreign ministers of Japan and Australia in Sydney.

Speaking to reporters after meeting with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Rice emphasized China's growing military and economic might needs to become a positive force in the region. She also urged Japan and China to improve their strained relationship.

"We have good relations with China and we have encouraged good relations between Japan and China," she said. " I might note that despite some of the difficulties that exist in that relationship they do have an extensive economic relationship, a trade relationship and so we are together in APEC, as members of the Pacific-rim nations. So there is a lot to work with in the Japan-China relationship."

Rice says Japan, Australia, and the United States share a large and global agenda. This includes resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis and cooperation in Iraq, where all three countries have troops.

During their joint news conference, Mr. Howard brought up a new proliferation issue - that of the U.S. decision to share peaceful nuclear technology with India in exchange for it opening up civilian facilities to U.N. monitors.

The Australian leader repeated his country has no plans to change its policy of banning uranium sales to countries, like India, that have not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

But Mr. Howard says he will send an official delegation to India and the United States to get more information about the arrangement.

Australia has the world's largest uranium reserves - about 30 percent of the total. India has expressed an interest in purchasing Australian uranium to make nuclear fuel.

Secretary Rice is spending the day in Melbourne meeting with Australian troops and attending sports matches of the Commonwealth Games.

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