China has welcomed the return of Kevin Rudd, but warned the new Prime Minister not to use the the strength of the nation’s largest trading partner to its advantage.
Mr Rudd has built solid ties with China during his time in politics and as a diplomat, and sought to make relationships with the government and the nation’s top businesses.
The new Prime Minister was due to speak twice today in China at major forums but has cancelled those appointments.
Mr Rudd’s daughter Jessica lives in Beijing with her husband Albert Tse, a banker at Macquarie Group, making him a regular visitor to the capital.
Julia Gillard‘s visit in March was hailed as a success, but most observers said her decision to visit China only twice in the past five years, meant her profile was low among China’s political leaders.
Political commentators said Mr Rudd should not try to politically capitalise on his own personal links to China.
Independent political commentator Yang Hengjun said Mr Rudd needed to build closer ties between Australia and China, given it is our largest trading partner.
Trade between Australia and China is worth up to $130 billion a year.
“Mr Rudd is an expert in China affairs which means he may have more initiatives and options in dealing with China,” Mr Yang said.
“It is an advantage for him. But it is a trap too; there is a risk that he builds his policies based on his own knowledge and he can make a wrong decision like choosing a side other than China if there is an international issue.”
Mr Rudd has impressed Chinese leaders with his fluent Mandarin, learnt from when he was a diplomat based in Beijing.
However, he has also angered the Chinese government by criticising its poor track record on human rights and knocking back some Chinese-led investment in Australian mining projects.
Australia and China have now signed an agreement to hold high level talks between the two nations’ leaders each year.Source: The Australian – China opens arms but has a warning
- Kevin Rudd is Australia’s Prime Minister again (craighill.net)
- Australia moves to diversify away from China under Kevin Rudd’s leadership (chinadailymail.com)
- China was furious because Australia would not submit to its demands under Kevin Rudd (chinadailymail.com)
- Rudd: China Boom Over (thediplomat.com)
- Kevin Rudd sworn in as Australian prime minister after overthrowing Gillard – South China Morning Post (scmp.com)
- Australia hasn’t had a recession since the early ’90s. And we just jinxed it. (qz.com)
- Here’s the real crisis in Australia (theage.com.au)
- Here’s the Real Crisis in Australia – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- I stand by boats ‘conflict’ comments: Rudd (news.smh.com.au)
- Indonesia dismisses Rudd claims – report (bigpondnews.com)
It is styled as Asia’s equivalent of the Davos forum and brings together political and business leaders.