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New Australia PM casts doubt on `Asia-Pacific community`

International Desk |
Update: 2010-07-04 15:58:45
New Australia PM casts doubt on `Asia-Pacific community`

SYDNEY: Australia`s new Prime Minister Julia Gillard has cast serious doubt over a new 18-nation Asian forum proposed by her sacked predecessor, a report said on Monday.

Gillard told the Sydney Morning Herald that former leader Kevin Rudd`s Asia-Pacific community, a hallmark of his plans for closer integration with the region, looked unlikely to proceed.

"It seems to me that we`re unlikely to see that degree of movement," she said. "I don`t get any indication, from the things that have been said, that there is going to be that degree of movement in the region."

The Asia-Pacific community was suggested as a broader alternative to APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) and the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The idea was welcomed as a sign of greater Australia engagement but gained little traction in the region, and went unmentioned by the Mandarin-speaking Rudd towards the end of his brief rule.

Gillard last month deposed Rudd after he had been in power for less than three years. She has since made little mention of foreign policy, instead concentrating on domestic issues such as defusing a row over a controversial mining tax.

BDST: 08:36 HRS, July 5, 2010

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