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Kevin Rudd on Australia's Unique Role in U.S.-China Relations [Gallery/Video]




In a wide-ranging speech, peppered with Mandarin phrases, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd touched on history and culture as much as contemporary politics to propose a new "rules-based" way for Asia to accommodate Sino-U.S. rivalries. He calls it "Pax Pacifica."

China is growing fast. And, we constantly hear that its economy will soon outpace America's. But how many of us have thought through the real consequences of this — not just for Asia, but globally? How will China operate as a true superpower? How will the United States live with Beijing's rise and rise?

Kevin Rudd, onetime Prime Minister of Australia and now its Minister of Foreign Affairs, took on these big questions at Asia Society in New York today. He comes to the topic from an impressive and unique standpoint, nationally and personally.

Rudd’s own China experience stretches over three decades from his student days, as a diplomat of many year and now in government.

Resource-rich Australia counts China as its number-one trading partner and is enjoying the fruits of its boom. However, it is also among Washington’s closest allies. In many ways — culturally and politically — it is a "Western" nation geographically hanging off of Asia.

It straddles two different worlds or spheres of interest, and so it has every reason to want Beijing and Washington to get along. If only it were that simple.

In a wide-ranging speech, peppered with Mandarin phrases, he touched on history and culture as much as contemporary politics to propose a new "rules-based" way for Asia to accommodate Sino-U.S. rivalries. He calls it "Pax Pacifica."

Video: Kevin Rudd on Chinese traditions and multilateralism (5 min., 31 sec.)

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