Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 12:17 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 12:17 | SYDNEY

Good news for the APc


Malcolm Cook

8 October 2009 14:39

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post looking at how Japan's idea for an East Asia Community runs counter to Prime Minister Rudd’s Asia-Pacific community initiative (note the lower-case 'c' in Rudd's formulation; Graeme Dobell explains). Since then, regional capitals have had a chance to respond to Prime Minister Hatoyama's East Asia Community idea and more details about its potential membership have filtered out of his new government in Tokyo.

It still seems that the two ideas are far from congruent. Rudd's idea is centred on managing US-China relations. It looks like the US is not even included in Hatoyama's East Asia Community. This could be a very large elephant-in-the-room problem.

Yet, there has been some good news. Foreign Minister Okada Katsuya has called for the East Asia Community to include Australia, New Zealand and India. Singapore has also provided unexpected support for the conceptual basis for Rudd's Asia Pacific community, as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, commenting prior to his visit to Japan, emphasised the need to keep the US engaged in the region. He is quoted in the Straits Times as saying, 'I think that the US has to be part of the Asia-Pacific and the overall architecture of cooperation with the Asia-Pacific', and that regionalism in Asia must always be 'open regionalism'.