Video: Kevin Rudd on Why Conflict Between the US and China Remains Unlikely

Asia Society Policy Institute President Kevin Rudd joins host Fareed Zakaria and guest Thomas J. Christensen on CNN, July 26, 2015. (Jinq Qian/Asia Society)

Appearing on CNN's “Fareed Zakaria GPS” last Sunday to discuss recent tensions between the U.S. and China in the South China Sea, Kevin Rudd, President of the Asia Society Policy Institute, said that “neither side has any interest to allow any significant incident to occur which would then flame into a regional conflict.”

“I suggest, analytically speaking, we take a bit of a cold shower because I don’t think we’re at the cusp of something radically spinning out of control,” he said.

Rudd was joined on the program by Thomas J. Christensen, Director of the China and the World Program at Princeton University and author of The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power.

Below are more excerpts from Rudd’s remarks.

China will avoid conflict with the U.S.:

From the Chinese side that would upset the agenda in terms of their number one priority, which is to continue to transform the economy. And secondly, from Beijing’s perspective, if they were to trigger conflict with the United States, the military realists in the People’s Liberation Army know full well that they would in all probability lose hands down. 

The U.S. has no interest in being dragged into a war:

America, as we’ve seen more broadly in U.S. strategic policy around the world, has no particular interest in going to war by accident or design in Asia.

On David Shambaugh’s essay in Wall Street Journal, “The Coming Chinese Crackup”:

This so-called “China collapse-ism” thesis has been galloping along here in the United States, and elsewhere in the world, since David wrote that. But, collapse-ism, I think, is just dead wrong. And to say further to David Shambaugh — who, I agree, has written some extraordinarily good stuff on China — it’s a bit dangerous if folks in Washington conclude, “Why worry about China, it’s about to head out the door backwards anyways.”

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Juan Machado is Assistant Director for Media at the Asia Society.