Gemma Daley
June 5, 2008

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wants a Europe-style union in Asia, to pursue trade agreements and boost co-operation on terrorism and resource security.

Rudd, 50, said global power and influence was shifting toward Asia and Australia must drive the creation of a union including India and members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

“We need to have a vision for an Asia-Pacific community,” Rudd told the Asia Society Australia Center in a speech last night in Sydney. “The danger of not acting is that we run the risk of succumbing to the perception that future conflict in our region may somehow be inevitable.”

Rudd, who ended John Howard’s 11-year rule in November, appointed diplomat Richard Woolcott to lobby regional leaders over the new body. Rudd will visit Japan and Indonesia next week.

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