As Australia navigates through the Asian Century, there has been widespread debate about the policies the country needs to pursue with its neighbours to promote mutual benefit. James Wise, the Australian ambassador to Thailand since August 2010, recently spoke with Nithi Kaveevivitchai of Asia Focus about the central issues in the White Paper and how his country is preparing to maximise its “Asian literacy”. Excerpts from the interview follow:
Q. What does the Asian Century White Paper mean for Australia and how is it important?
A. The White Paper is a document that is essentially aimed at Australians and Australian domestic audiences. What it seeks to do is to make sure that we Australians fully understand the nature and the scale of the changes occurring in Asia, which is our neighbourhood. We need to understand the region well, understand what the opportunities are there, so that we can take advantages of those, whether it is an economic opportunity, a strategic opportunity or a cultural opportunity.
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