Wednesday, December 1, 2004

'Pre-emption' Australia's ASEAN headache

ASEAN leaders pressed HoWARd to rethink his rejection of South-East Asia's non-aggression treaty.

The new regions...have graduated from this model in two ways. First, their leaders now see that there is no limit to the slice of the pie, so long as they allow the region to interact with the global economy... (Kenichi Ohmae)

Australia's continuing role at the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit may depend on Australia signing a non-aggression treaty. The 10-leaders of ASEAN, and the prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand, have been meeting in the Laotian capital Vientiane.

Malaysia's Prime Minister, Abdullah Badawi said, "I believe there'll be many activities that we are going to have in KualaLumpur." "I should be able to see again those friends who are here at this summit - Australia, New Zealand."

But its not much good HoWARd being invited to the summit and attending if he wont co-operate with South East Asia? Any trade negotiations would be blocked because HoWARd won't sign a non-aggression treaty.

How embarrassing because common sense would tell us that trade goes hand in hand with peace and supported by trust not mistrust. That means if it is important Australian-ASEAN trade is virtually locked out due to HoWARd's refusal to sign the non-aggression treaty?

Australia needs to re-think its 'doctrine of pre-emption'. This also underlines the ASEAN states, which argued that Australia's trade qualifications would depend on it being a signature to the treaty and a non-aggressive trading partner.

Malaysia had previously vetoed Australia's summit role for a decade.

ASEAN leaders pressed HoWARd to rethink his rejection of South-East Asia's non-aggression treaty. This can only add to HoWARd's declining relevance.

New Zealand announced its positive view about acceding to the treaty.

By Lose Lose 1 December 04


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