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Australia's role is to keep peace in region: Defence White Paper


11:11, May 03, 2013

CANBERRA, May 3 (Xinhua) -- Australia's 2013 Defence White Paper underlines the country's role in keeping peace in the Indo- Pacific region, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said at a press conference of launching the white paper on Friday.

According to Gillard, there had been significant changes since the country's 2009 White Paper. This included a shift in global economic and strategic weight to the region, the renewed U.S. focus on the pacific, Australian Defence Force (ADF) drawdowns in Afghanistan, Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands and the global financial crisis.

"The white paper underlines the enormous stake Australia has in managing strategic change in the Indo-Pacific region and managing it peacefully, in particular in an U.S.-China relationship in which competition is minimised and co-operation maximised," she said.

She said the white paper reaffirms the importance of "our longstanding Alliance with the United States as our most important relationship and a cornerstone of our defence policy."

"The United States' rebalance to our region presents further opportunities for cooperation with Australia through a range of enhanced practical cooperation measures," she added.

According to the white paper, Australia will adopt a "long-term " goal of raising defence spending to 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). And defence spending this financial year was expected to be around 1.56 percent of GDP.

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