ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Asia Pacific Forum-No Meeting of Minds

No Meeting of Minds MGG Pillai THE feeling persists, even if it is not articulated publicly, that the Australia's proposed Asia-Pacific Forum would remain nothing more than a talking shop for economic co-operation. Canberra's ag gressive attempts to lay down a general framework for it, usually withour con suiting the others involved, has not helped. The Australian prime minister, Robert Hawke, first proposed it during an official visit to South Korea early ihiv year. Senator Gareth Evans, the foreign affairs and external trade minister, has made so many statements about it, after formally proposing it to the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Conference at Bandar Seri Bepawan earlier this year Hut none appeared to have been based on consensus with the other her countries, The foreign and economic ministers of 12 Asia Pacifie countries met in Canberra early November to discuss the issue. But that was a meeting of like-minded people; those from Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Soviet Union, all countries of the South Pacific and South America were not invited. Those present were broadly committed to the anti-communist, pro-west system. There has been no explanation why the others were not invited even if they arc in the Asia Pacific region.

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