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Transcript 9905

SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON P J KEATING MP THE SINGAPORE LECTURE - "AUSTRALIA, ASIA AND THE NEW REGIIONALISM' - SINGAPORE, 17 JANUARY 1996

Photo of Keating, Paul

Keating, Paul

Period of Service: 20/12/1991 to 11/03/1996

More information about Keating, Paul on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 17/01/1996

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 9905

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PRIME MINISTER
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SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON P J KEATING MP
THE SINGAPORE LECTURE " AUSTRALIA, ASIA AND THE NEW
REGIONALISM" SINGAPORE, 17 JANUARY 1996
It is a great honour to have been asked to give this lecture and I thank Professor
Chan Heng Chee and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies for the invitation.
Australia has had a long and productive association with the Institute over many
years. I also want to thank the Government of Singapore for Its support for the lecture
and, especially, Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan for his courtesy to me In
chairing it today.
This is my third visit to Singapore as Prime Minister and It is always a pleasure
to come here. There Is an energy about Singapore which flows from people
who are conscious of the Inevitability of change and who are trying to shape that
change for the better.
I admire that. Singapore, perhaps more than any other place in the world,
teaches the vital lesson that we cannot prepare for the future until we know
what we want it to be.
This has been the distinctive principle guiding Singapore's modern history: the
same principle that some time ago began to guide Australia through the present
era. When you face things and begin to do what must be done, you liberate
ideas about what can be done. This great era of change has meant that as we
approach the centenary of Australia's nationhood a new, stronger and clearer
vision of our future has begun to emerge. And It now goes without saying that
much of the future we see we see in the Asia-Pacific.
The vision of a future for the region, and of the potential for our relationship to
serve our separate and mutual interests, has been the Inspiration and the guide
for the joint efforts between Australia and Singapore over the past four years,
and it is the reason why I have so much enjoyed working with Prime Minister
Goh and his colleagues on Issues like APEC and regional security.

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And although this lecture Is not about our bilateral relationship, I want to begin
by saying how pleased 1 am that the Prime Minister and I were able this morning
to issue a major declaration on the Austral! ia. Singapore partnership which will
help ensure that this old relationship between us remains relevant and creative
into the next century.
And it Is an old relationship. In Singapore, of all places, the provenance of
Australia's engagement with modem Southeast Asia Is clear. Indeed, for the
generation of Australians before mine, Singapore was interchangeable with
what we then referred to as the Far Fast, although It was really the Near
Northwest. Singapore's history and Australia's have been closely linked throughout this
century. You need only go to the cemetery at Kranjl where so many
Australians are buried.
After Singapore's Independence. the links between us grew through our
partnership in the Five Power Defence Arrangements and the bilateral defence
ties which merged from It Today, our bilateral defence cooperation is
extensive. The Singapore armed force train in Australia and the RSAF has
established a Flying School at Pearce Air Force Base in Western Australia.
Our close engagement was strengthened through the people to people links
establshed under the Colombo Plan and since. Last year nearly
10,000 Singaporeans studied In Austraria.
And, of course, our growing trade and Investment ties underpin an economic
relationship which is Important to both of us. Singapore and Australia are
consistently among each other's top ten trading partners.
We have also developed a strong habit of cooperation on regional Issues where
our views so often coincide APEC most recently, of course, but earlier with
ASEAN, with which Australia was the first country to estabrish a formal dialogue
relationship. Now in the declaration we have signed today we have affirmed the strength of
our partnership and established a framework to support our continuing
cooperation In all these areas.
For me this partnership is especially important because, as Prime Minister, one
of my central goals has been to see that Australia Is better Integrated with the
rapidly changing region around us, that we have an opportunity to play a role in
shaping it and are better prepared to meet whatever challenges the 21st
century may offer. -A N

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1 have said more than once before* I Australia does not succeed In Asia It will
not succeed anywhere.
But success clearly requires more than the traditional tools of foreign policy.
For Australia, as I suspect for most countries, our external relations can no
longer exist in a separate box marked " foreign relations" or " foreign policy"
largely unconnected with the domestic policies which are needed to build a
society which Is both open and competitive and cohesive and strong.
That was why it was imperative for Australia to dismantle the ring fence of tarffs
and protection to open our economy to competitive breezes, and in so doing, lift
our gaze to the world.
We deregulated our capital and exchange rate markets and opened them to the
world for the same reasons.
As a result, In the decade to 1 994/ 95, Australia's export to GDP ratio Increased
from 14 percent to 21.5 per cent. The level of direct foreign investment In
Austrlia Ns increased eight fold and the level of direct Australian Investment
abroad has increased seven fold.
Rt was all there, waiting to be unlocked.
It is also why it has been necessary for us to address other challenges thrown
up both by our history and the imperatives of the future. One of those has been
the Injustice done to Australia's Indigenous people, not least through the
lingering pretence that before Europeans arrived on our oontinent it was a terra
nuthlus a land of nobody. We have undertaken a huge effort In social justice to
see that historic wrong put right.
I think It will be equally good for our long term national cohesion and sense of
ourselves If we make the leap to a republic. The time has come for an
Australian, rather than the monarch of Great Britain, to be our head of state. I
want Australia to be, a3 Singapore is, a Republic and a Republic within the
Commonwealth.
The change will not make us what we want to be, but It will help describe us to
ourselves and to others. it will help define our complex Identity, help articulate
our ambitions and values, help fuse the links between the old Australia and the
new.

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Much the same desire to preserve Australia's egalitarian values and traditions
arnd maintain cohesion and harmony ted us, as we made the structural changes,
to intensify our efforts to strengthen Australia's social fabric. Our economic
effort has been matched by an effort to develop sophisticated social programs
which deliver equity and encourage tolerance. The path we have taken leads
towards a modem multicultural Australian social democracy, one that Is dynamic
economically and socially fair,
All this change, economic, social and political, has set Australia up for the
future. It Is also divining our path in the Asia-Pacific.
I have always said that the nature of Australia's relationship with Asia has been
long and for the most part honourable.
But Australian Governments and the Australian people have recently come to
recognise the impflcatlons of living In and with the region which Gareth Evans
describes a~ s the East Asian hemisphere.
Australia's closer relationship with Asia Is partly driven by economic realities, of
course. Already two-thirds of our trade is with the APEC region, more than half
of It with East Asia.
But our engagement with the region around us Is not just commercial. And It is
not just the result of some crude economic determinism.
It goes and must go much deeper than that
Rt goes to a genuine desire for partnershIp and real Involvement.
For example, it has changed our thinking about our defence on the basis that
Australis needs to seek its security In Asia rather than from Asia.
That is why we have so strongly supported the development of the ASEAN
Regional Forum. It Is why we have worked hard to develop strong defence links
with our neighbours like Singapore and Malaysia, as well as new partnerships
with countries like the Philippines and Vietnam.
And It Is why we recently signed with Indonesia a new Security Agreement
which builds on the development of our bilateral defence inks,

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This agreement sets out formally for the first time the reality that neither
Australia nor Indonesia threatens the other and that we have common interests
In the stability and security of the region around us. And it goes further than
that, to make it clear that we are prepared to consult If those interests are
challenged. The agreement marks a major step not only In Australia's relations with our
largest neighbour but also In the outlook for regional stability. It expresses a
common understanding that we are stronger together and that we should affirm
a common interest.
Similarly, Australia's engagement with the region extends much more freely to
people-to-people contacts. Language and capacity in language Is central to
this. Accordingly, the Federal and state governments have committed
themselves to a language strategy which aims to have by 2006 sixty per cent of
all Australian school children from years three to ten studying one of four Asian
languages Indonesian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese or Korean.
And this change is already well underway. Already more people are studying
Japanese1 Australia than in any other country apart from China, Korea and
Japan Itself. And more schoolchildren from Australia spend time studying In
Japanese schools than children from any other country.
At the same time there can be no doubt that the course of closer engagement
with Asia on which Australia Is now embarked is having its impact on our culture
and outlook as well.
The nearly forty per cent of Immigrants to Australia who now come from Asia
are playing their part in changing the way Australians think about the world and
their country; In just the same way that earlier waves of Immigrants, ever since
1788, successively shaped and re-shaped Australia's sense of itself.
And, It goes without saying, Australia Is shaping them and their descendants as
It shaped those who have come before.
I don't want to enter the debate about ' Asian values' here but I do want to say
something about Australian values.
Although it Is often described as a young country, Australia is one of the oldest
democracies In the world. We had universal suffrage and secret ballots well
before the United Kingdom and before almost any other country. The
democracy is old and runs deep. Our sense of ourselves Is imprinted with ideas
of equality and equity among them, the conviction that all members of our
society not only have a right but a duty to have their say. That is why voting in
Australia Is compulsory.

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And despite deep imperfections in our record, including the racism inherent in
our immigration policies until a quarter of a century ago, Australia has also been
a very tolerant community, absorbing settlers from all parts of the world with
remarkably little tension.
In many perhaps most respects, the values I believe In and most Australians
believe in are precisely those that are often referred to in this debate as " Asian".
The importance of family, the benefit of education, the need for order and public
accountability, the inherent value of work most Australians I know would
describe these as Australian values. Indeed the word most Australians would
very likely choose to describe as the core Australian value is ' mateship' and
' mateship' expresses an ethic of communltarianism and mutual obligation which
in other contexts Is called " Asian".
In other areas respect for authority, the Importance of ' face' and the
preference for harmony and the avoidance of conflict the differences between
Australia and some other Asian countries is dearer, but the degree to which this
to a debate about values, as opposed to cultural practices, Is less clear.
More Impqant over time, I think, will be where we stand on the larger debate
not about" Asian' or western values, but about values themselves and what the
role of government should be In shaping them.
Fundamentally It will be a debate between those who believe the main role of
government is to get out of the way and let the market rip and those who
consider that government provided it is operating with the consent of the
governed has a role in shaping and expressing the values of our community.
Defined this way, the debate cuts across Asian and western societies alike.
I have never believed that Australians should describe themselves as Asians or
that Australia is or can become part of Asia.
We are the only nation In the world to Inhabit a continent of our own. I have
said more than once before, we can't be Asian any more than we can be
European or North American or African. We can only be Australian and can
only relate to our neighbours as Australians. Our history, Including the 40,000
year history of our indigenous people and the histories of the 150 different
cultures from which Australians derive, make us unique in the world.
Our somewhat unlikely history and geography should not change this
fundamental conviction and this irrevocable commitment that Australia Is and
must always be an integral part of the region around us.
Let me turn now from Australia to the issues of this wider region, and to the
question of regionalism itself.

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1 want to use this lecture to say some things about the region, about what
regionalism means in the post-Cold War world, and especially for the
Asia-Pacific. Finally, I want to look ahead at some of the issues we will have to
address in the next decade or so.
The fact that we describe the present International scene as the post-Cold War
world in terms of what came before us rather than what we have become
underlines how fluid the International environment is at present and how
uncertain we are about the shape it Is taking.
We are living through the greatest period of change In the world since the
emergence of the nation state, arnd we have a very limited time in which to
shape the new international structures before nations and institutions settle into
new grooves from which It will be very difficult to dislodge them. What we. 1
mean all of us do now will lay the foundations for prosperity and security In the
21 st century just as fatefully and Inevitably as the actions of Europe's leaders
did a century ago.
And unles~, get it rght now, our failure might be no less calamitous then
theirs. When the Berlin Wall came down, when President Yeltsin and his supporters
later stood on the tanks outside the White House In Moscow to defy the coup
plotters and brought down the Soviet Union, they also brought down the post
war international order.
The expectations of a new International order, based on a concert of powers
opetating to a large extent through a revived and renewed United Nations, have
not been fulfilled.
In part. I believe, this Is because our global international structures are
Incomplete and immature. They still reflect too directly the world into which
most of them emerged at the end of the 1940s.
Japan and Germany. the world's second and third-largest economies are selfconstrained
from playing their full part In the International system.
Russia will always be one of the world's great powers, but now and over the
next few years it will be preoccupied with the consequences of the end of the
Soviet Union.
China is emerging into the world, and the way that happens will dominate the
Asia Pacific like no other Issue over the coming decades. But for the time being
China, too, is largely preoccupied with domestic issues and especially
developing t economy.

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Meanwhile, in the United States, the world's only remaining superpower, the
struggle goes on as it has since the foundation of the Republic between those
who believe the United States should avoid foreign entanglements and those
who want it to be engaged with the wider world. This, as always In the United
States, is not only a debate among the politicians and the political elite. Its
outcome depends, In the and, on what t American people think. and we
should not be surprised If it is harder to engage them with foreign policy now
than it was for the high moral struggle of the Cold War.
At another level, too, global structures are often too large and rigid to permit
productive discussion. The sheer weight of numbers In the United Nations, for
example, means that complex negotiations often have to be conducted through
increasingly out-of-date groupings which often fall to reflect current economic
and political realities.
Australia can speak with feeling on this matter. For United Nations purposes,
we are relegated to the category of ' others', as part of a Western European and
Others grouing.
it Is not Juit the absurdity of this classification which Irritates but the practical
consequences. More and more clearly, Australia's Interests cannot be properly pursued in such
framework. It Is a structure which emphasises North/ South divisions. This
tends to generate on the side of the North a strongly Eurocentric perspective
on global problems. But the ' South' is where Austraria's neighbours are, and it
Is with the ' South' that our Interests often coincide rather than diverge.
For all these reasons, the present global structure is inadequate.
This is not an unchangeable state of affairs. There is much that can be done
about it.
For example, Australia supports permanent membership of the United Nations
Security Council for both Germany and Japan, a position for which Japan's
excellent chairmanship of the Osaka APEC meeting further justified It.
And we believe it is essential to encourage the United States to play an active
and engaged role In the world not just in the Asia Pacific, but globally.

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We hope that such outside encouragement like the Joint declaration which
Singapore and Australia issued this morning will strengthen the position of
those Americans who share our conviction that US Interests, as well as ours,
are advanced by their continuing active engagement in East Asia. Nothing is
more likely to generate security tensions In this part of the world, or threaten the
region's continuing economic and social development, than uncertainty in
countries like Japan and Korea about the continued US security commitment.
One of the main reasons behind Australia's support for APEC has been our
conviction that closer American economic engagement in Asia and the Pacific
win reinforce the essential political underpinnings of Its security relationships.
The other great uncertainty about the interational situation In the coming
decades, as I said earlier, is China.
The economic reforms introduced by Deng Xlaoping and President Jiang Zemin
have brought profound benefits for the international community as a whole, not
just for China. There have been few more significant developments in the past
half century.
I do not bel( eve China is an expansionist or aggressive power, or that it is likely
to become so. It is an essential and central part of the regional community.
However, the sheer size of its population and economy raises questions for the
rest of us about how we deal with it,
For my part, I think there is little doubt about what the broad approach should
be. Above all, the answer Is to ensure that China is engaged comprehensively in
global and regional institutions. This has been a major aim of APEC and the
ASEAN Regional Forum to engage China, not to contain it or Isolate it.
But the answer also lies In China's neighbours making their own way in the
region and taking responsibility for their own future. It Is the responsibility of all
of us to build what ASEAN calls our national and regional resilience: a region
which is self-confident and cooperative, rather than apprehensive and self.
absorbed, will be better for an of us including China.
And, In part, that means building institutions and structures which engage all the
countries of the region in a dialogue about the future.
ts ar hrIin ht hnOk fram the to the regional. It Is a sign of
the times the most important sign oI the oeneve.

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For the time being, at least, the role of the great powers in shaping the
development of the International system Is less dominant than it might otherwise
be. And this, as I said earlier, 13 happening at the very time when we are
moulding the Institutions and processes and ways of resoMng problems which
will form the pattern of the next period In International relations.
I think that one outcome of this situation 1s that regionalism and regional
approaches will come Into their own as never before.
This century, was dominated by global struggles. Imperialism and later
Communism were of their nature global. Two world wars and the Ideoiogical
struggle of the Cold War taught us to structure our ways of thinking about the
world In essentially global terms.
Regional approaches were usually subordinated to this broader competition.
The multilateral defence pacts of the 1950~ s were an example. Even the
development of the EEC was driven in part by the need to strengthen western
Europe economically and politically against the Soviet threat
But with the-breakdown of the bipolar structure of the Cold War, regional
problems nI& longer automatically form a metaphor for a wider global and
Ideological struggle as they did In Afghanistan and Angola and Central America.
Instead, it Is easier now to address regional Issues on their own terms.
And a degree of flexibility Is possible In regional Institution building which has
never been possible before. Vietnam's membership of ASEAN and the
common membership of APEC by the three Chinese economies are Important
examples. So, for alt these reasons, I think that In the Immediate future regionalism offers
the capacity to generate new Ideas, subsume old enmites and provide new
ways of doing things. It can let the light in in a way which global structures are
too large or unwieldy or rigid to do.
Thi3, In turn, means that the opportunities for small and medium sized countries
to shape the International agenda are greater than they have ever been In the
post. So long as they know what they want and where they are heading.
I am sure that one of the reasons for the success of the Asia Pacific In global
terms Is the creative way In which regionalism has been embraced in this part of
the world.
It Is not a new phenomenon. of course. ASEAN has been an enormous
success in transforming the tensions of the confrontation era In Southeast Asia
Into a habit of working together.

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But the next burst of regionalism, including within ASEAN, is growing in range
and ambition.
APEC has made huge strides In a few short years.
When I first proposed the idea of meetings of APEC leaders In 1992, I did so
because I was convinced that unless APEC could begin to draw upon the
executive authority of national leaders it would remain a modest and essentially
peripheral organisation, making progress only at the pace of Its slowest officials.
It Is leaders who have the political authority to commit a country to a certain
course in pursuit of certain outcomes, and leaders who are charged with the
responsibility to recognise the bigger picture and the bigger opportunities that
come with it.
Once leaders were involved In the development and formulation of policy in
APEC, a different dynamic evolved and the pace of action quickened.
Most leaders believe that any event In which they participate should deliver a
good result so, from Seattle on, the pressure was on to formulate a strategy
and then dive it.
At the same time, once the leaders met and don't forget that the Seattle
meeting was the first time leaders from across the Asia Pacific had ever met
the pressing reality of our interdependence generated a new momentum for
cooperation. The very feeling of co-operation generated even more goodwill.
This happened in Seattle, where we set out the vision of an Asia Pacific
community. Then the following year in Indonesia. President Soeharto gave this
vision a concrete form in the Bogor Declaration's historic commitment to free
trade and Investment in the region by 2010 and 2020. And finally, last year, In
Osaka, where we put together the plan of action for reaching our objective as
well as offering specific downpayments on our Bogor commitments.
APEC was conceived as an organisation of economies and It is vital that its
main function continues to be economic. If the East Asian economic miracle is
not to run out of steam to end up, as some European commentators wishfully
predict, as a short-term and unsustainable phenomenon It Is essential that the
trade and Investment arteries within the region are kept open. It is essential that
we do all we can to help the activities of our business people, who make the
trade happen.
So the pressure on APEC will not diminish. Every meeting, every year has to
make progress. Later this year in Subic Bay we will need to take the first steps
to implement our Individual plans of action.

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Such progress is critical not only for the Asia Pacific's continuing economic
growth, but for its security as well.
Because, although APEC's purpose Is economic, It will have, like ASEAN before
it, important political and strategic consequences.
It is already having them. No-one who has participated in those three
successive leaders meetings, or in the Ministerial meetings, can fail to notice the
increasing ease with which leaders representing half the world's production now
deal with each other. And no one can be blind to the amount of business which
Is now conducted In the corridors and related bilateral meetings.
APEC is in many critical respects a new model for regional cooperation and I
believe It shows the way forward. It is " new" in at least three ways.
First, its development has been driven as much by the small and medium
powers as by the large ones a fact that has been one of its strengths given the
global situation I described earlier. Of course President Clinton's decision to
invite APEC leaders to the informal meeting in Seattle was critical, as was the
support wh) ph the Japanese Government and Prime Minister Murayama gave
the free trade agenda during their chairmanship of the Osaka meeting. But
ideas and energy have come just as powerfully from economies like Korea and
Singapore and Indonesia and Australia.
In other words, the sense of ownership and participation Is broadly spread
throughout the organisation. APEC gives the smaller and middle sized
countries of the region a very direct say in shaping its future.
Second, APEC is possibly the best practical example the world has yet seen of
cooperation between countries at different levels of development.
Developing countries are not just participants, they are at the core of the
organisation's activities. President Soeharto's chairmanship of the Bogor
meeting was a critical moment for APEC, but it was also an example to the
world of the new sort of partnership between developed and developing
countries which will be essential as the process of globalisation and
Interationalisation proceeds. The world's fifteen most dynamic trading nations
between 1980 and 1993 were all developing countries.
Third, APEC has offered an approach different from the formal structures and
legalisms of other regional approaches like the European Union or NAFTA or, at
the global level, from the Uruguay Round and the WTO. Unlike earlier models of
trade liberallsation. APEC first announced its end point that is, free trade and
investment by 2010 or 2020 and left the getting there to a process of
concerted Ilberalisation between members rather than to direct negotiation.

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This approach is not only new, it has aroused considerable scepticism,
especially from those whose experience of International trade negotiations has
been in the heavyweight boxing ring of the Uruguay Round and its
predecessors. I can understand this scepticism, but I am also convinced It is misplaced. The
drag out/ knock down approach to trade negotiations has surely reached the end
of its useful life In an environment where almost every country in the world,
rather than just a handful of industrialised countries, has a stake in global trade.
Few even among the hardiest trade negotiators can relish the idea of another
seven year Round conducted like the last one. And one where the real offers,
the real impetus to llberalisation, were too often left in the negotiator's pocket to
take back home.
So I remain an optimist that APEC will be able to deliver on the promises it has
made, and that, in doing so, it will offer an example which will be useful to the
rest of the world.
Drawing on these experiences with APEC, as well as other regional
organlsatior it Is becoming possible to draw up a number of rules for the new
regionalism in the Asia/ Pacific. Let me try to enumerate them.
The first rule; there are no rules. Or, at least there are no fixed approaches and
as far as possible we should avoid the nightmare of a bureaucratic and legalistic
approach to what we are doing. The Asia Pacific needs to be a small ' c'
community If It Is to succeed.
For the approach to work, however, a high degree of trust will be required not
a commodity which is thought to flow freely through intematlonal discourse.
The best way of encouraging trust as ASEAN has shown and APEC will Is
through close personal contact between leaders and Ministers and with officials
and, beyond that, their counterparts in business.
As 20th century European history vividly testifies, contact does not rule out
conflict but it Is certainly impossible to develop trust between countries and
cultures without It.
The second rule is that we need to avoid closing Asia and the Pacific off to the
outside world.
My argument in favour of regionalism is not an argument against global
multilateral approaches when these are most appropriate, as they often will be.

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Indeed, they are often essential. A comprehensive test ban treaty or a chemical
weapons convention, must be negotiated globally. And although Intra-regional
trade in East Asia has grown much more rapidly and Is of greater volume than
extra regional trade, we all have a deep anid growing Interest In the world
trading system. We need a regional approach which can be reconciled with the
development and strengthening of that system. This Is one of the challenges for
the first WTO Ministerial meeting, when it meets, very appropriately, In
Singapore lsaer this year.
The final rule Is that the region must not become complacent with success.
The challenges to economic growth and to security In this part of the world
remain serious. We will only have a chance of overcoming them If we confront
them directly and with a clear-eyed sense of what they mean for us.
Let me end by speaking In particular about two of those challenges which I
believe should be placed more prominently on the agenda of regionalism In Asia
and the Pacific.
The first of them Is the environment.
Sooner thian many people expect, environmental problems winl begin to affect
not only the degree to which people in Asia and the rest of the APEC region can
enjoy the fruits of recent economic growth, but, more fundamentally, will begin
to impede the extent of that growth.
Demand for food and energy in the region will grow disproportionately as
standards of living rise and expectations Increase. China's demand for food, for
example, is growing so fast that Its shortage within 15 years could be three to
six times Australia's total annual wheat production: just feeding chickens to
vatistY China's demand by 2000 will take more grain than Australia currently
produces. World food production will have to Increase by more than 75 per cent over the
next 30 years if global food security is to be assured.
But significant questions exist about whether the green revolution responsible
for 90 per cent of the great growth in food production over recent decades can
be sustained, and whether we can afford environmentally to sustain It. Heavy
use of fertilisers, Irrigation and pesticides has caused major problems In many
countries. Soil erosion, sallity and pollution of water resources Increasingly
accompany pressure for greater agricultural productivity.

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The region's ability to sustain high levels of economic growth will also depend
on its capacity to meet the growing demand for energy. By 2010. electricity
demand across the APEC economies Is expected to Increase by between
per cent and 80 per cent. East Asia's demand for energy is doubling every 12
years, compared with 28 years for the world as a whole.
Few people now question the judgement that we are seeing a discernible
human influence on global climate. While to date developed countries have
contributed disproportionately to this problem, by the year 2000 developing
countries are expected to contribute more than half of global C02 emissions,
And much of this will be in Asia.
Today's global population Is expected to grow by 2.6 billion 45 per cent-by
the year 2025. 90 per cent of this increase will take place in developing
countries and 90 per cent of this will be urban. By the end of the century for
the first time in history more people will live in cities and towns than In rural
areas.
The absolute growth of urban environments will be greatest In Asia. The United
Nations estinates that cities in the region will gain 500 million Inhabitants in the
next ten years. By 2025 the Asian region is expected to be predominantly
urban.
This demographic shift will put huge strain on basic services such as water,
sanitation and shelter. Only half the urban populations In Asia currently have
access to water supplies and 42 per cent to sanitation.
The growth of urbanisatlon is being accompanied by a disproportionate growth
in the incidence of poverty In urban areas. Across the Asia-Pacific region,
some 25-35 per cent of urban dwellers are thought to be squatters. To
compound the problem, marginalised urban dwellers often live in ecologically
vulnerable areas.
The environment has become a sensitive Issue in Asia because environmental
arguments have sometimes been used as a disguised form of protectionism by
developed countries. And developing countries have understandably resented
being told by developed countries that they should not do what developed
countries did namely, pass through their period of industrialisatlon without
having to consider the impact on the environment
But we cannot deny the reality of the environmental challenges facing the
region.
We must see protection of the environment in the Asia-Pacific not as an
alternative to economic growth, but as the only thing that will ensure its
continuation.

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Sustainable development was neatly defined by the Brundtiand Commission on
the Environment and Development as ' meeting the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'. At its
heart this is or should be a very Asian Issue.
Because if there Is one characteristic which has underpinned Asia's recent
economic growth it has been the willingness of current generations to work for
the future good of the community and postpone Immediate reward. So the Idea
of Inter-generational equity a key to the environment debate is very Asian.
With the environment, as with economic liberailsatlon, we will get further In this
part of the world if we use a flexible and cooperative approach which takes
account of the particular development needs of all the countries In the region.
With its mix of developed and developing country members which have already
demonstrated the political Wil1 to cooperatively tackle some difficult Issues,
APEC may help us find a way through the developing/ developed country divde
which has t Indered progress on environment issues at the international level.
The advalntge we have Is a set of goals and aspirations shared by both
developed and developing countries.
A regional approach to environmental management will also help us to respond
effectively In International forums to European approaches which, while
appropriate to their economic and environmental circumstances, too often
ignore the environmental differences In the Asia Pacific and the different
demands of Industrialising and fast growing economies. It Is important that we
work together to ensure outcomes on International negotiations reflect not only
northern but southern hemisphere realities.
APEC has already adopted framework principles for integrating environmental
considerations into Its overall program and Into the activities of its working
groups and committees. This integrated approach Is essential If environmental
Issues are not to be marginalised,
This was the thinking of the leaders at Osaka when they decided on joint action
to deal with the demand for food and energy and the pressures that will be put
on the environment.

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The region's economic expansion and accompanying high rates of Investment
are taking place at a point in history when energy efficient technologies and
processes are widely available. This presents a unique opportunity to get it
right the first time to put in place up-to-date technologies that use materials
and energy efficiently, minimise emissions, improve product quality and reduce
costs. Developing APEC economies currently use 50 per cent more energy to
produce a unit of GDP than developed APEC economies. So, clearly, the
potential gains from Improving efficiency are very substantial.
And significantly, If the region doesn't take up this opportunity It will face not only
an investment bill exceeding SUS1.6 trillion to build the Infrastructure for Its
growth in energy demand by 2010, but the additional costs of fixing avoidable
environmental damage.
Australia is committed to working with countries in the region to avoid this for
example, by addressing emissions, including through the use of energy efficient
or renewable energy technologies. One area with considerable potential Is the
replacement of fossil fuel-based power with photovoltaic ( solar) energy systems.
We are already cooperating with Indonesia on solar energy and the feasibility of
using Aus ralia's leading edge clean coal technology and HI Smelt technology
for its future steel plants.
Integrated management of our natural and urban environments will become
more important as urbanisation intensifies, particularly where hazardous and
Industrial wastes have the potential to Impact on marine and coastal
environments and fisheries. Managing urbanisation in a way which is
ecologically and socially sustainable is one of the key challenges confronting
the region. If we succeed, we will see continued Improvements in our quality of
life. If we fail, we risk slowing economic growth and having to divert resources
to deal with waste and pollution, increased vulnerability to natural disasters and,
eventually, social unrest.
In preparation for the UN's Habitat II conference in June, Australia Is looking at
how we can better utilise our aid program to address the challenges of
urbanisation. Key issues include low cost housing, assistance for squatter
settlements, land use planning, human resource development, support for
micro-enterprises, and Infrastructure development
We need in general to have a much better sense of what is happening to our
land cover. The preparation of Australia's first National Greenhouse Gas
Inventory showed that we were still clearing substantial areas of native
vegetation for agriculture, and thus contributing significantly to our greenhouse
gas emissions. This came as a surprise. It would not have had we been
monitoring overall changes in land coverage.

18
We have now embarked on a major project to monitor agricultural land cover
change using remote sensed data from the Landsat satellite. As far as I know it
Is the biggest project of its type undertaken anywhere. The data, including
maps, resulting from this project will improve our greenhouse gas emission
calculations, providing a basis for better catchment planning, dryland salinity
management and conservation of biodiversity. This is something that should be
done region-wide If we are to improve the quality of global data and provide a
more accurate and comprehensive Information base for global policy making on
climate change.
No Australian Prime Minister is going to claim that getting the balance right
between the Immediate needs of economic growth and the longer-term
requirements of the environment is easy or painless. We have been wrestling
with it In many areas, most recently in our forest policy. But It has to be done
and it will be easier if we can cooperate regionally not just because so many
environmental problems have no regard to national borders, but because we
can make greater progress if we lear from and draw on the experiences of our
neighbours.
A second cfallenge the region faces is in meeting its human resource
developnient needs. President Ramos has already spoken of his hope that
APEC will address this challenge directly during the year of his chairmanship.
The Asia Pacific already faces serious shortages of skilled workers who are vital
for economies that are moving Into export-oriented manufacturing and service
Industries. Thailand, for example, produces only half of the 10,000 engineers it requires
each year. Malaysia estimates it has a shortage of 9,000 engineers and 18,000
engineering assistants. China needs to find two million technically qualified
workers each year, but produces only one million.
Many APEC Governments are already addressing these problems Individually.
Malaysia, for example, is reviewing its entire education structure. And
Hong Kong and Singapore as well as Malaysia are giving higher prionty to
vocational training In secondary schools.
Australia, too, has dramatically increased its investment in education. More
than three quarters of young Australians now complete twelve years of
schooling, and since 1983 we have Increased the number of students at
university by 70 per cent. We are linking education much more closely to
Industry through a new nationwide vocational education and training system.
A regional approach can help strengthen what each of us is doing nationally.
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We can make the temporary movement of professional people easier.
We can strengthen existing exchange schemes and cross-accreditation
arrangements for students In different countries.
We can Improve the mutual recognition of professional qualifications, and
Australia has proposed the establishment of an APEC regional skills centre to
facilitate this.
More fundamentally, the resources Invested in education and training will need
to grow throughout the region. And this will be easier If we can encourage cross
investment in education and training among APEC members, as Malaysia Is
doing now.
As I noted eariler, I am quite convinced that we are living through the period of
the most fundamental change in the world for the past century and a half, and
possibly longer,
We may IlVe at the end of the millennium, but we do not live at the end of
history.* And that history the world in the twenty first century the structure and shape
of its International system, the nature of its conflicts, the forms of its cooperation
is being decided now. And here.

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