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Does Australia's RTP Matter to the US?

Australia's RTP is not the kind of situation that U.S. officials would necessarily get involved in. But U.S. Commerce Secteray, Gary Locke, has expressed his concern. (He is a Chinese American, and former governor of Washington state.) The charge against the four RTP executives is espionage, which potentially carries a death penalty. And enough American companies do business in China that a clash with any foreign company might cause concern.

This leads to the question of what is at the heart of the RTP matter, which seems to be a chicken-and-egg issue. Although smaller than BHP, RTP has dealt more directly with Chinese companies, and less with government agencies. Then the question is, did the Chinese want to buy RTP to prevent "secrets" stemming from its dealings with Chinese companies to leak out? Or was it the other way, that RTP worked directly with local companies to avoid the interference of the government, of which the botched takeover attempt and the arrest of its four executives were merely the latest manifestations?

And RTP has pulled the rest of its executives out of China. This is something of "locking the barn door after the horse." But better late than never.