China, Indonesia pressure Australia over spy row
Australian Ambassador Greg Moriarty arrives after being summoned to the Indonesian foreign ministry on November 1, 2013, following reports that Australian embassies were being used to intercept phone calls and data across Asia
US Secretary of State John Kerry admitted US spying had sometimes gone too far as a dispute erupted in the region following a story in the Sydney Morning Herald.
The newspaper reported a top-secret map leaked by fugitive intelligence analyst Edward Snowden showed 90 US surveillance facilities at diplomatic missions worldwide, amplifying an earlier story by German magazine Der Spiegel.
The centres in China included the US embassy in Beijing and US consulates in the commercial hub Shanghai and Chengdu, the capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan, the SMH said.
The SMH reports focused on secret US intelligence facilities in Asia and also said Australian diplomatic posts were being used to monitor phone calls and collect data as part of the American surveillance network.
"We require the Australian side to make a clarification," Hua Chunying, spokeswoman of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters at a regular briefing.
"We also urge the diplomatic missions and personnel in China to strictly abide by international treaties including the Vienna Convention," she said.
Her comments came a day after she said China required the United States to "make a clarification and give an explanation", adding foreign diplomatic missions and personnel must not engage in any activity that may "jeopardise China's security and interests".
Indonesia -- where the US and Australian embassies in Jakarta were both identified as surveillance facilities -- summoned Australian ambassador Greg Moriarty to the foreign ministry on Friday for a 20-minute meeting on the accusations.
Afterwards Moriarty told a scrum of reporters: "I just spoke to the secretary general, and from my perspective, it was a good meeting and now I have to go and report directly to my government."
Earlier this week Jakarta summoned the US ambassador over the issue.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa described the reported spying activities as "just not cricket".
Natalegawa, speaking Friday after talks with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop in Perth, said his government was "obviously deeply concerned".
"Most of all, it's about trust," he said, adding: "I'm not sure what's the right term in Australian terminology, I guess it's not cricket to do this kind of thing."
Bishop said that Natalegawa had "raised his concerns, I took them on board and I take them seriously, but the Australian government does not and will not comment on intelligence matters".
The row is another blow to ties between Canberra and Jakarta, which have been tested by new Prime Minister Tony Abbott's hardline policies on trying to stop asylum seekers who board boats in Indonesia from arriving in Australia.
Widespread reports of US National Security Agency spying based on leaks from Snowden, including that the agency was monitoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone, have already sparked a major trans-Atlantic rift.
In Malaysia, the foreign minister said it had "sought clarification" from the US ambassador to Malaysia, Joseph Yun, over the allegations.
The reaction from other Southeast Asian nations mentioned in the Sydney Morning Herald report was more muted, however, with Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar seeking to downplay the issue.
Washington has been seeking to improve ties in Asia in recent years to counter growing Chinese dominance.
Kerry sought to calm the row by admitting that spying had sometimes gone too far and by offering assurances that such steps would not be repeated.
"I assure you, innocent people are not being abused in this process, but there's an effort to try to gather information," Kerry told a London conference via video link.
"And yes, in some cases, it has reached too far, inappropriately."
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