Not nervous about China`s rising power: Australia

Australia`s government has launched an in-depth review of Asia`s growing influence.

Sydney: A top Australian official on Thursday denied suggestions that the country is nervous about China`s rising power, after Australia`s government said it was launching an in-depth review of Asia`s growing influence.

The review, announced on Wednesday by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, will examine the benefits and risks of China`s and India`s rapidly growing power, and the economic, political and strategic impacts of Asia`s growth. The results of the inquiry — dubbed "Australia in the Asian Century" — will be released in mid-2012.

On Thursday, Trade Minister Craig Emerson denied the review was a sign that Australia was concerned about China`s growing global influence.

"I don`t accept that (there`s nervousness)," Emerson told Australian Broadcasting Corp Radio. "With the rise of economic power comes broader responsibility. We`re indicating to China we want to deepen the relationship."

Booming demand from China and India for Australian minerals and energy propelled Australia through the global financial crisis, and the country`s economy remains strong.

"We know that Asian demand creates historic change in Australia and historic opportunities as well," Gillard said at an Asian business lunch in Melbourne on Wednesday. "In the `Asian Century,` what used to be considered our traditional disadvantages — our reliance on natural resources, our location in the world — become great new strengths."

The government review, led by former treasury secretary Ken Henry, is expected to produce a series of guidelines for policy development and projects for the next 15 years.

"While Asia`s rise has been with us for a lifetime, China and India remain relatively poor countries in per capita terms, with decades of growth ahead," Gillard said. "These changes have barely begun — these changes will define our future."

Bureau Report

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