Barack Obama’s historic US election win opens up new prospects and possibilities, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith says.

Smith said Australia would stress to President-elect Obama the
importance of the US-Australia alliance and of the superpower’s ongoing
involvement in the Asia-Pacific region.

He warned the new administration would face a raft of challenges.

“Climate change is one of them, the United States’ relationship with China is another,” Smith told the ABC.

then we have some difficult peace and security issues: Afghanistan …
the difficult problem of Pakistan, and an issue I think may well end up
being one of the most significant difficulties, the international
community has this time next year, which is Iran’s nuclear program, let
alone … the ongoing difficulty with the North Korean nuclear program.

“So plenty of challenges, which we want to be working closely with the new administration (on),” he said.

Smith said Senator Obama’s win was a “deeply historic and significant change”.

“That of itself opens up new prospects and possibilities in my view,” he said.

Smith said the government would continue to work constructively with
the Bush administration until its term officially ends in January.