Kevin Rudd on The Hague's South China Sea Decision and U.S.-China Relations

Interview with Charlie Rose

On July 13, 2016, ASPI President Kevin Rudd sat down with renowned journalist and Asia Society Trustee Charlie Rose to discuss the South China Sea and U.S.-China relations. On The Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration’s recent ruling on disputed maritime claims in the South China Sea, Rudd said the issue remains unresolved because “there is no mutually accepted arbitration here.” “But what [the arbitration decision] does do,” he explained, “is bring…back…a process of negotiation. He added that “I detect a slight change in the temperature after this decision. They may now start to do this.”

On the U.S-China relationship, Rudd argued that "the fundamentals are still in working order." "The actual substantive military-to-military relationship between the People's Liberation Army, the United States Armed Forces, and Pacific Command is in fact strong and growing," he said. "The great success of both administrations, despite all these complications in the South China Sea, is how, in fact, they get together. In the last two years they have negotiated... a protocol to avoid incidents at sea and how to manage them if they occur (accidental collisions), and recently one concerning incidents in the air. Prior to this administration in the United States and prior to Xi Jinping's administration, we did not have that." 

Rudd also highlighted the challenges to regional and bilateral security posed by North Korea's nuclear program, calling it "the core national security issue which the next U.S. President will face." (17 min., 7 sec.)