Canberra: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has discarded her predecessor Kevin Rudd’s concept of an 18-nation "Asia Pacific community'', saying that the project has failed.
In June 2008, Rudd had proposed an initiative to create an "Asia-Pacific community" by 2020, bringing together countries as disparate as the United States, India, China, Japan, Indonesia and Australia.
"The danger in not acting is that we run the risk of succumbing to the perception that future conflict within our region may somehow be inevitable," Rudd had said then.
The paper stated Rudd as saying earlier that Australia believed a new community could help shape the region, which is fast changing with the rapid growth of China and India.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Gillard said that among the list of Rudd’s policies that she is changing; include this part of foreign policy, which needed consideration.
''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," Gillard said.
However, she agreed that the concept had opened a conversation about regional architecture.
“The concept had opened a conversation about regional architecture, which I think is a good thing,” she added.
The paper also stated that Richard Woolcott, the retired senior diplomat who served as Rudd's special envoy on the project, differed with Gillard's interpretation of the idea's prospects.
"It's not dead, it's active, and it still has some legs, we have made considerable progress. It's in Australia's national and international interest that the Gillard government continues to build on that progress," he said.
Gillard, however, assured that she does not have any plans to make big changes in foreign affairs.
First Published: Monday, July 05, 2010, 16:46