Australian Prime Minister Wants Asian Union By 2020

Australian Prime Minister Wants Asian Union By 2020

The Australian
June 5, 2008

KEVIN Rudd wants to spearhead the creation of an Asia-Pacific Union similar to the European Union by 2020 and has appointed veteran diplomat Richard Woolcott – one of his mentors – as a special envoy to lobby regional leaders over the body.

The Prime Minister said last night that the union, adding India to the 21-member APEC grouping, would encompass a regional free-trade agreement and provide a crucial venue for co-operation on issues such as terrorism and long-term energy and resource security.

And he outlined his plans for his visits to Japan and Indonesia next week, saying he would explore greater defence co-operation between Australia, Japan and the US – an approach that had been championed by John Howard.

Speaking in Sydney last night to the Asia Society Australasia Centre, the Mandarin-speaking Mr Rudd said global power and influence was shifting towards the Asia-Pacific region and that Australia must drive the creation of a new global architecture for the Asia-Pacific century.

“We need to have a vision for an Asia-Pacific community, a vision that embraces a regional institution, which spans the entire Asia-Pacific region – including the United States, Japan, China, India, Indonesia and the other states of the region,” said the Prime Minister.

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McCain backs Rudd’s ’Asian Union’ plan


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Yes, but did you see this:

Business Leaders Back Aussie PM’s Asian Open Borders Plan

June 6, 2008

Leading Asian business leaders today endorsed Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s concept of an Asia-Pacific Union similar to the European Union by 2020.

Endorsing the Australian Prime Ministers Plan today the Young Members President of the Australia-Asia Business Leaders Forum, Mr Kenneth Ray, said that the Prime Ministers plan was “visionary” and would allow “young professionals in all Asia-Pacific countries to work, gain experience and expand cultural exchanges with other Asia-Pacific countries”.

“A substantial benefit of the European Union has been its open borders in relation to employment. The free flow of trade and employment has allowed business professionals from all EU countries to gain expertise in new and emerging eastern European markets, as well as solidifying cross border cultural exchanges. There can be no doubt that open employment borders enhance cultural understanding and underlying economic fundamentals” said Mr Ray.

Mr Rudd’s plan has attracted criticism from some quarters as being “aloof” and “unrealistic” in todays climate. The Prime Ministers plan would be pursued through APEC – an existing grouping of 21 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. APEC currently focuses on limited economic and political areas of dialogue.

The Australia-Asia Business Leaders Forum, Mr Ray said, had proposed a similar arrangement more than 2 years ago. “However, that idea was likely ahead of its time. But Australia and young Australian working professionals have a lot to gain from Mr Rudd’s plan. We hope that the Prime Minister sticks to his vision and leaves the nay-sayers behind”.

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