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Australia to act as go-between for US, China: -

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Australia to act as go-between for US, China: PM

Reporter: Hamish Fitzsimmons

TONY JONES: In a major foreign policy speech in Sydney tonight, Prime Minister John Howard has told
his audience that promoting free trade is a key step in defeating terrorism. Mr Howard said
Australia has an important position as an advocate of free trade and democracy and also as a
go-between in any Sino-US tensions. And he signalled Australia will take on a more significant role
in Asia-Pacific affairs in the future. Hamish Fitzsimmons reports.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: In John Howard's foreign policy vision, outlined at the official opening of the
think-tank the Lowy Institute, Australia will not be a spectator but a major player.

JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER: History will have no bigger stadium this century than the Pacific Rim.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: A question that remains, though, is how to fight what many see as one of the
causes of terrorism - poverty. The answer, says the Prime Minister, lies in globalisation and
trade.

JOHN HOWARD: We should start by reaffirming the power of globalisation to lift the dead hand of
poverty around the world.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: But it comes with a warning to World Trade Organisation members, who will meet
in Hong Kong this December for the conclusion of the Doha round of global trade negotiations.

JOHN HOWARD: Two of the last three WTO meetings have failed and another failure would seriously
damage this important organisation's credibility.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Earlier this week, a survey released by the Lowy Institute found that
two-thirds of people believed Australia pays too much attention to the United States when
formulating its foreign policy. The Prime Minister believes, however, that Australia's close ties
with the US is vital for all players in regional affairs, as is Japan's increasing prominence as a
diplomatic and military power within Asia.

JOHN HOWARD: This quiet revolution in Japan's external policy - one which Australia has long
encouraged - is a welcome sign of a more confident Japan assuming its rightful place in the world
and in our region.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: The Prime Minister trod carefully when addressing tension between the United
States and China, describing an overly pessimistic view of the Sino-US relationship as a mistake.
Mr Howard says Australia has an important role to play for the two powers as a go-between.

JOHN HOWARD: We see ourselves as having a role in continually identifying and advocating to each,
the shared strategic interests these great powers have in regional peace and prosperity.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Mr Howard says former boundaries between domestic and global foreign policy,
defence and trade are now blurred. But he says this has founded a new clarity in Australia's
position in the world. Hamish Fitzsimmons, Lateline.