Foreign minister outlines Pacific vision

Marise Payne: Indo-Pacific nations have considerable weight in their own right.
Marise Payne: Indo-Pacific nations have considerable weight in their own right.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has used a major speech to international diplomats to outline her vision for an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.

Senator Payne said Australia had agency and influence to contribute to shaping the region.

"Australia will be true to our values and respectful of the fundamental rules and norms that have stood the test of time," she told the diplomatic corps in Canberra on Friday.

"The order based on these rules and norms has served all countries in the region well."

Senator Payne said any changes to the rules should be pursued through negotiation and not the exercise of power.

"Australia will compete constructively," she said.

"We will do so by investing in our regional partnerships, building long-term trust and confidence and by working with our partners."

The minister said countries working together amplified what each did separately.

Senator Payne took a gentle swipe at those solely focused on tensions between China and the United States.

"Sometimes the commentary in the media and even the foreign policy community suggests strategic competition, the United States and China, are the whole story, but they are not," she said

"Indo-Pacific nations beyond those have considerable weight in their own right and we believe in an inclusive region."

Senator Payne said a prosperous and resilient region was needed to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.

Australian Associated Press