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UK foreign policy takes on an Asian flavour

George Osborne's first trip abroad was to China.

William Hague, Liam Fox and Andrew Mitchell went jointly to Afghanistan a fortnight ago.

William Hague has said that the UK-India relationship is a special relationship alongside the transatlantic partnership. The Foreign Secretary will be visiting India and Pakistan in September.

FOX LIAM NEW Underlining the Coalition government's commitment to put relations with Asia on a much higher level Dr Liam Fox has just given his first big speech as Defence Secretary. Speaking in Singapore he summarised the Asian tilt of the Coalition government's foreign policy. Two key extracts are published below:

The Euro-Atlantic area does no longer dominates UK foreign policy: "The new Government in Britain represents a generational step-change in our approach to international affairs. Neither the new Prime Minister, the new Foreign Secretary, the new Deputy Prime Minister, nor myself as Defence Secretary were in Parliament at the start of 1989, the year that saw the fall of the Berlin Wall and the beginning of the end of the Cold War. In many ways this is the UK’s first post-Cold War Government. We realize that the world has changed. We recognise that the world is now multi-polar and multi-powered.  We think globally and will pursue a distinctively British Foreign and Security Policy rooted in our enlightened national interest, but no longer confined to the Euro-Atlantic area."

Today's global challenges do not respect geography: "Francis Fukuyama once talked about the end of history. Perhaps he should have been talking about the end of geography – or at least the end of the isolation and insulation that geography once brought. Not only have the information revolution and the internet rendered distance immaterial for many purposes; but, in this globalised world - instability in the world economy, the scourge of terrorism, the threat of nuclear proliferation, the need for development and poverty reduction, and, of course, the consequences of climate change - these are challenges that face not one country, nor even one region, but face all countries in all parts of the world. Today’s world is one of necessary partnership not optional isolation."

Dr Fox also took the opportunity to say that Afghanistan was the test of the test of the international community's battle against international terror:

"My top priority is the vital international campaign in Afghanistan where 9,500 British troops are working alongside their military and civilian colleagues from 60 other countries, including an invaluable contribution from nations represented here today.  It is in Afghanistan that the resolve and the capability of the international community to confront transnational terrorism is being tested."

Download a full PDF of Liam Fox 's speech.

Tim Montgomerie

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