Malaysians pour scorn on Australia's continental drift

Brunei - The battle of the maps broke out in Brunei yesterday with the Australians producing one showing it at the centre of Asia, and Malaysia insisting Australia is a separate continent "down there".

"This is where we live. This is where we find our security. This is where we can best guarantee our prosperity," the Australian Foreign Minister, Gareth Evans, told reporters at the end of a week-long meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

The Australians distributed maps on Wednesday which showed Australia approximately in the centre of an eastern hemisphere with Siberia at the top and Antarctica at the bottom. Malaysia, which vetoed a suggestion that Australia be invited to an Asian and European leaders' summit next year in Bangkok, poured scorn on the idea.

"If I look at a map, I believe it says that Australia is not part of Asia," the Malaysian Foreign Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, told a news conference, which included the seven Asean foreign ministers and their Western counterparts. But he added that Australia "is increasingly looking towards Asia and is more with us and is increasingly identifying itself with some of Asia's concerns". He was less diplomatic on Wednesday, after Mr Evans unveiled his East Asian hemisphere concept."Go back to school," he chided an Australian reporter. "We are part of Asia and Australia is down there," gesturing toward the floor. "It's another continent."

Malaysia was the only country to object to Australia's inclusion in an inaugural summit of Asian and European leaders. Since Asean - which groups Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam - operates by consensus, its objection was decisive.

The two countries have their differences. Malaysia nearly launched a trade war against Australia after the Prime Minister, Paul Keating, called his Malaysian counterpart, Mahathir Mohamad, a "recalcitrant" for boycotting the 1993 Asia-Pacific economic forum. Malaysia is also miffed that its East Asian Economic Caucus has been unable to get off the ground because of reservations by the US, Japan and Australia.

Mr Evans said that 60 per cent of Australia's trade, half of its immigration and four-fifths of its overseas students came from the region. Australia also had defence links with almost all of the Asean nations. "There's been a fundamental change in the general psychological landscape ... both within Australia ... and the way in which other countries look at us."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

£15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

£11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

£15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most