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Australia`s Rudd defends push for Asian EU
uusjio | June 5, 2008 at 07:49 pmby
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Prime Minister Kevin Rudd pledged Friday to push on with his plan for an Asian counterpart to the European Union despite the proposal being lambasted by two former Australian leaders from his own Labor Party.
Bob Hawke, the architect of the 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum set up in 1989, said the EU model was unsuited to Asia.
Paul Keating, Hawke's successor and the convener of the first APEC annual leaders' meeting in 1993, said relinquishing sovereignty would be too big a sticking point.
"I do not believe such a model will or can be adopted by the states of East Asia, or for that matter by the US," Keating was quoted by DPA as saying.
"Problem-sharing and dialogue is one thing, the surrender or partial surrender of sovereignty is an altogether different thing."
Rudd, who is just seven months into his first term as prime minister and is the least experienced of the region's leaders, was unmoved by the criticism from within his own party.
"What I'm concerned about in our region here in the Asia Pacific is ...