Australian Foreign minister Stephen Smith promoted prime minister Kevin Rudd’s plan for an Asia Pacific Community at an Asean meeting in Thailand on Thursday.
Smith said he was pleased at the positive response from many countries to the idea, and to the further information Australia provided about the plan.
“Our notion of an Asia Pacific Community is to get all the same players in the same place at the same time,” Smith told Sky News.
Smith noted once again that it was a long-term initiative, with a 2020 timeframe.
“I expect we will see it evolve over time, just as Asean (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) itself has evolved,” he said, referring to Asean’s growth from half a dozen nation states in the ’60s to its present 10 countries.
He pointed to the evolution of groupings like the East Asia Summit, which the United States is considering joining.
Smith said although Asean would continue to play a central role in the Asia Pacific, it was important to ensure institutions in the region reflected its growth and significance.