Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith's office confirmed Tuesday that Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei did not attend a Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Cairns, but was replaced by a lower-ranking official.
Smith's office issued a statement expressing regret for China's actions, since Australia supports Chinese sovereignty over its restive Xinjiang region.Beijing accuses Kadeer of inciting riots between Uighurs and members of the dominant Han Chinese group in Xinjian in July. Nearly 200 people were killed and more than 1,600 others injured in the violence. Kadeer denies inciting the riots.
Relations between the two countries have also been damaged by the arrest earlier this month of four employees of the Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto, including Australian Stern Hu and three Chinese staff on charges of bribery and obtaining commercial secrets.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.