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Australia FM: Asia wants more US engagement

Friday - 11/22/2013, 3:50pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Australia's new foreign minister says America is as important as ever for the stability of the Asia-Pacific region and nations in that part of the world want to see more U.S. leadership, not less.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was speaking during her first trip to Washington since a new conservative government took power in Australia.

She said President Barack Obama's increasing foreign policy focus on Asia is "vitally important" and in America's national interest.

Obama is set to visit Asia in April after a trip in October was canceled because of a political standoff at home.

Australia's own standing in Asia has been bruised by allegations it tapped the phone of Indonesia's president.

Bishop declined to address that, but said Australia will work hard on its relations with its neighbor.


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