Thursday, November 11, 2010

honorary han Rudd on China's rise

nov 11th, 2010

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: B

Rudd on China's rise

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Broadcast: 08/11/2010


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Hillary Clinton has gone out of her way more than once on this trip to praise Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd for his excellent advice on the rise of China. He joins us now from Melbourne hopefully to share some of that advice with us as well. Kevin Rudd, welcome to the program. Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald today that the US military partnership with Australia is in part preparing for threats that are, "... on or beyond the horizon". Given China's increasing role in the region, as its economic and military power grows, presumably the secretaries have to include China as a potential future threat. Is that the case?

KEVIN RUDD, FOREIGN MINISTER: We're not in the business of naming threats, Kerry. That's been our practice in the past and that's our practice for the future as well. What we've done over many decades as an Australia-US alliance is to make sure that the alliance is relevant to contemporary circumstances. What are they today? The fact that we still have a regional and global terrorist threat which requires a high level of collaboration between our security and intelligence agencies and the fact also that we are in a region, the Asia Pacific region, which is in a state of huge change. Yes, we do have the rise of China, and we to have of course burgeoning military expenditures in many other countries in the region. So one of the things that we engage in is: how do you build for the future a stable, rules-based order for East Asia and the Pacific for this 21st Century? That's one of the things that we engaged in substantively during these discussions in Melbourne.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Now we heard Hillary Clinton in Heather Ewart's package just before we started speaking where she was talking about the need for China to recognise that it play a responsible role. Why is it necessary for America to be telling China publicly that it's going to have to play responsibly by the rules unless it believes that China has other intent?

KEVIN RUDD: Well, I think it's important that we're all contributors to the regional and global order. China has come from being an impoverished state 30 years or so ago to being one of this region's great powers and is on track to become a global great power. Therefore, it's entirely right that the Americans, ourselves and others talk about how these rising powers, including India, contribute to a regional and global rules-based order. And the reason is that provides the stability for the future, and that strategic stability then makes economic growth and jobs possible as well. So therefore, this is not specifically targeted at the PRC; it's targeted at the region as a whole, and that's what we're in the business of doing with our American friends.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But when Robert Gates talks about America's need to re-engage and to boost its role and its activities in the region, clearly, America is responding specifically, apart from anything else, to China's increased interest in the Asia Pacific. Does that mean that Australia now increasingly will be in this constant tap dance between both major powers trying to advance Australia's interests with both without displeasing either?

KEVIN RUDD: Well if you ask Therese, Kerry, I'm a lousy dancer and tap dancing has never been my forte. It's not the way in which you conduct foreign policy. Foreign policy is looking ahead and seeing where we're likely to be in a decade's time, and how do we make appropriate preparations? If we look at this region of ours, it's replete with strategic uncertainty. Why? Here, unlike in Europe, we've outstanding territorial disputes - on the Korean Peninsula, in the East China Sea, in the South China Sea and going further round to India of course in Kashmir. So you ask: why are we so keen on developing a rules-based order which enables us to have confidence in security building measures among us, greater predictability of military budgeting, military exercising and the like? It's because this region is much rawer - or much more raw - whatever the correct English is - than is the case in Europe. Therefore, we've got a whole lot of building to do. That's why we've been such strong supporters of this concept of an Asia Pacific community, which now has its form and shape through the East Asia Summit. We've gotta develop its agenda and establish those rules. We don't want conflict in our region.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Former senior Australian Defence official Hugh White wrote today that, "China's rise presents the US with a serious challenge to its leadership of Asia for the first time in decades and presents Australia with an impossible choice between our traditional alliance and our economic future." Now, has Hugh White got that wrong?

KEVIN RUDD: Yes, he has. And the reason is that skilful, careful diplomacy is able to manage a whole range of different interests which we have at any one time. Of course we have a strong economic relationship with China. It's evolved over the last 30 years, and it's now our largest trading partner. We also on the security front have a very active, bilateral security dialogue with Beijing. Only last week I was with the head of the the PLA, General Chen Bing Dhur, in his office in Beijing talking about these very matters. So therefore the idea of some zero sum game, head to Washington or head to Beijing, is frankly nonsense. That's not the way in which you conduct a foreign policy of a robust, independent and proud state such as ours, Australia.

KERRY O'BRIEN: So, what can you say as you see it about Australia's future in terms of military cooperation with China? Is that relationship potentially open-ended? Presumably there is the scope for that to continue to expand down the path that we have over decades with the United States?

KEVIN RUDD: Well, for quite some time now, Kerry, we've had ship visits between the Australian Navy and the People's Liberation Army Navy, as they call it - the PLA Navy. And in fact one of those occurred most recently. And in reverse we had vessels visiting the Chinese ports of Qingdao, etc. Each year we have a high-level dialogue between our four stars, that' is the chief of the Defence Force and his counterparts. That'll occur next month again in Beijing.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But my question is: how much more scope is there for that relationship to expand considerably beyond where it is now?

KEVIN RUDD: Well, we said in the Defence white paper which was released last year that we wanted to see greater transparency in terms of China's regional strategic intentions and doctrine. That's in black and white in the white paper. Now, we believe therefore that by enhancing the dialogue one-on-one with the Chinese, but also regionally, through this emerging institution, the East Asian Summit, we can obtain greater predictability, greater consistency and we believe greater stability in terms of military operations within the region. As I said before, right now, it's all a bit brittle. We've not had these sort of institutions on the political and security front. Our job now as builders of the region's architecture is to get that right, and that includes with our friends in China as well.

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