Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 06:14 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 06:14 | SYDNEY

Oz media: Spinning out of control


Malcolm Cook

29 September 2009 13:50

The Australian government and Prime Minister, when it comes to foreign policy, have been enjoying an Indian summer in the broadsheet media of late. The Australian’s Greg Sheridan has stood up against The Age and Foreign Affairs in favour of  Prime Minister Rudd’s rejected essay. Now, Fairfax’s Peter Hartcher has come to the defence of the Prime Minister’s overseas travel schedule.

The media’s fulsome praise of our leading statesman though seems to have overreached itself and spun out of control.

Hartcher claims that 'This week Japan's new Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, embraced Rudd's concept of an East Asian community and pitched the idea to China's President, Hu Jintao.' Having just come back from Tokyo myself this seems off target. Prime Minister Rudd is calling for an Asia-Pacific community and in the essay submitted to Foreign Affairs focuses on the importance of the US-China relationship in this construct. 

Hatoyama is calling for an East Asia Community that is focussed on getting the Japan-China relationship right. Hatoyama’s community idea may even exclude the United States. Post-war Japan has long had fierce internal debates between Asia Pacific proponents focussed on the importance of US-Japan relations and East Asia proponents that view Japan-China joint leadership in East Asia as the key strategic goal. This is the root of Hatoyama’s East Asia Community idea.

East Asia does not equal the Asia Pacific and Hatoyama’s East Asia Community, though details about it are sparse, is not simply a rebadged version of Prime Minister Rudd’s Asia Pacific community.

Photo by Flickr user United Nations Photos, used under a Creative Commons license.