The Australian Dennis Shanahan June 18, 2010
KEVIN Rudd has rejected suggestions he’s given up on his Asia-Pacific community proposal and welcomed the regional forum that is evolving from the existing ASEAN group.
“The Australian government set out to start a regional conversation, and welcomes the fact that the nations of the region are taking part in just such a conversation,” the Prime Minister’s office said last night.
Mr Rudd announced a plan in 2008 for a new regional body to be formed by 2020 that would take over from existing regional forums and have the capacity to discuss security issues.
But, because of a lack of consultation beforehand, many Asian countries opposed the idea and insisted that ASEAN remain the dominant group that could discuss security issues as well as trade and political links. On Wednesday, Mr Rudd told the visiting Singapore Foreign Minister, George Yeo, that he would now leave ASEAN to decide how to develop the new regional architecture.
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