"Chinese authorities on Sunday arrested four Rio Tinto employees, including the group's top iron ore salesman in China, Australian Stern Hu, alleging they were involved in stealing state secrets. The affair has cast a shadow over Australia-China relations.
Australian papers were critical of Rudd on Friday, with most calling it a crisis for his center-left government and pointing to a serious deterioration in Canberra's relationship with its second largest export market.
"There is an air of contempt in the way the Chinese authorities have failed to respond to Australian government requests for information and for consular access to Mr Hu until today," wrote the Australian newspaper's foreign editor, Greg Sheridan.
"What does the much touted Australia-China relationship add up to if Beijing treats Canberra with such conspicuous discourtesy and indifference?" Sheridan wrote.
Rudd said Australian diplomats had made "strong" representations to Chinese officials and diplomats from the Beijing embassy were expected to gain consular access to Hu later on Friday."