Building relationships with our regional partners
Foreign Minister Bob Carr yesterday, October 28, welcomed the release of the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper as a clear demonstration of the Gillard Government’s commitment to strengthen Australian engagement with the region.
“This is a critical moment in Australia’s engagement with Asia,” Senator Carr said.
“The White Paper delivers a roadmap for promoting Australian interests and engagement with our regional partners.”
To achieve this, the White Paper includes the following initiatives:
• the appointment of a dedicated Jakarta-based Ambassador to ASEAN; and
• planning for an Australian Embassy in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) and consulates in Shenyang (China), Phuket (Thailand) and eastern Indonesia.
“A resident Ambassador to ASEAN enhances Australia’s ability to work with ASEAN on priority regional political and economic issues,” Senator Carr said.
“Strengthening our diplomatic network in other parts of Asia is also vital to Australia’s long-term security and prosperity.”
Senator Carr said Australia would also develop comprehensive country strategies in consultation with the community, setting out objectives and priorities for Australia’s relationships, with a focus on China, India, Indonesia, Japan and the Republic of Korea (South Korea).
“We need to continue to build our engagement with major countries in Asia through regular meetings with government and business leaders, and in the exchange of people and ideas.”
Senator Carr said education was central to the Government’s strategy to strengthen links between Australians and the region.
“Over the next five years, 12,000 Australia Awards (Asian Century) will be provided to undertake inward and outward study or professional development between Australia and nations in Asia,” he said.
Senator Carr said the Government would expand work and holiday programs with countries in Asia, starting by adding 1,000 places in the Work and Holiday Visa program with Indonesia.