Be `Asia literate`, says Australian Foreign Minister

Julie Bishop took oath Wednesday as Australia`s first woman foreign minister and urged young Australians to become "Asia literate".

Updated: Sep 18, 2013, 14:00 PM IST

Canberra: Julie Bishop took oath Wednesday as Australia`s first woman foreign minister and urged young Australians to become "Asia literate".

"I am committed to building people-to-people links across our region by providing an opportunity for young Australians to become `Asia literate` through studying and working in the region, and bringing that expertise and experience home," Bishop said in a statement.

Australia`s 38th foreign minister was sworn in at the Government House here, an official statement said.

Bishop said she was proud to be the country`s first female foreign minister.

"I look forward to promoting and protecting the interests of Australia and Australians."

Bishop said she would lead efforts to strengthen relations with Australia`s key partners and drive the country`s contribution to global and regional forums.
"I am honoured to have been appointed foreign minister as we have developed policies that I believe will advance Australia`s economic, strategic and cultural links with countries in our region.

"It is vital that Australia`s foreign policy is positioned to take advantage of the global shift in economic power to Asia.

"Enhancing Australia`s economic diplomacy is integral to enabling Australia to compete for access to emerging and developing markets, particularly in Asia," she added.

Bishop would also take on the role of minister for international development and oversee a refocussing of the Australian aid programme to ensure a more effective and efficient delivery of development assistance.

IANS