Australia lays out plan for closer ties with Asia

Australia lays out plan for closer ties with Asia

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard presented a strategic plan Sunday designed to strengthen ties between her nation and Asia.

The 312-page plan covers economic, educational, trade, regional security and cultural cooperation, setting 25 goals for Australia to take advantage of the Asian economic boom by 2025.

Australia is instructing its diplomats in countries across Asia to work with local governments to improve the business climate.

Education plays an important role in the strategic plan, with schools in Australia requiring children to learn at least one Asian language, such as Mandarin Chinese, Hindi or Japanese, Gillard said.

Australia became the world's 12th-largest economic power, according to an International Monetary Fund, or IMF, report Oct 9.

The country's gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow 3.3 percent this year and 3 percent in 2013.