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Australian Current Affairs

Australia’s Kevin Rudd supports US pivot as a ‘response to China’


Kevin Rudd

Kevin Rudd

China‘s assertive foreign and security policies are dominating strategic concerns in the Asia-Pacific region and have led directly to a strong US response, according to Kevin Rudd.

In an article to be published next month in American journal Foreign Affairs, Mr Rudd says the “pivot” to Asia by US President Barack Obama was a direct response to this Chinese assertiveness.

Mr Rudd believes the US action was necessary to reassure an Asia upset by the uncertainty China’s actions engendered.

This is the most explicit statement by anyone of Mr Rudd’s seniority that the pivot, which Washington and Canberra have said is not directed against one country, is a response to China’s actions.

In an interview with The Weekend Australian, Mr Rudd underlined Beijing’s determination to maximise its influence.

“China seems to be resolved on enhancing its state power over time,” he said.

“At the same time, China has yet to resolve how they will deploy that power in the future.”

The internal Chinese dialogue on this subject, Mr Rudd said, was “an intensely dynamic debate within China”.

Mr Rudd said he was very confident the Obama administration would maintain the pivot to Asia, and that the US military would have the resources to support it.

“These decisions were ultimately made by the President inside the Oval Office,” he said.

“I cannot see any circumstances in which he would backtrack or sidetrack on that.” As far as military resourcing went, he said: “I cannot see the circumstances emerging where the congressional Republicans would allow the undermining of the US’s global capabilities.”

Mr Rudd strongly backs the US pivot strategy in his Foreign Affairs article.

He told The Weekend Australian: “Australia’s long-term security, diplomatic and other interests are advanced by a continuing long-term US strategic presence in the region.”

Mr Rudd said it was not beyond Australia’s “wit and wisdom” to support the US pivot in Asia and at the same time pursue a good, multi-dimensional relationship with the Chinese.

“After all, we’re not Robinson Crusoe in this,” he said.

Source: The Australian – “US pivot a ‘response to China'”
 
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