Australia’s Rudd Tells US That China Is Not An Enemy, But Presents An Economic Opportunity
SYDNEY – Australia Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has urged Americans not to view China as an enemy but as a country offering huge economic opportunities, even though its leaders have “done some bad things in the past.”
Rudd was speaking during a visit to Washington, where the Mandarin-speaking former diplomat has been welcomed as an expert on China as well as a close ally of the United States.
Rudd was asked on the influential PBS television program “The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer” whether Americans should view China as an ally, an enemy, or some other way .
“I think China represents a huge opportunity for us all for the 21st century,” Rudd replied, noting the country had a big part to play as “the center of global economic gravity” shifts toward the Asia Pacific region.
He said the “smart course of action” for the United States and Australia would be to help integrate China into global political, economic and security institutions and engage Beijing on climate change.
“Now, if China was to turn its back on that or not be responsible, the world would soon know,” Rudd said. “They’re not perfect. They’ve done some bad things in the past. But let’s look at the opportunities, rather than simply assume it’s all threat and all risk.”
The interview was conducted hours after Rudd held talks with President Barack Obama at the White House, where the leaders discussed the war in Afghanistan, the global financial crisis and climate change.
Rudd is touting the G-20 forum as a key tool in tackling the financial meltdown and is urging that China be given a greater voice in the grouping and other international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund. G-20 leaders are due to meet next week to discuss the crisis.
After the meeting, Obama said he and Rudd had a “great meeting of the minds” in how to approach the crisis, though he did not mention China.