Kevin Rudd on U.S.-Australia Ties, China’s Anbang Takeover, and North Korea

Interview on Bloomberg

On February 23, 2018, ASPI President Kevin Rudd spoke with Bloomberg about relations between Australia and the United States, Beijing’s takeover of Anbang Insurance Group, and U.S. security policy towards North Korea.

Rudd notes Australians’ “deep disappointment” with the U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He observes that Washington is firm in its decision, which leaves open the question of who will take the lead in supporting “trade and economic engagement in the Pacific, when the global trend… is heading in a protectionist direction”.

Rudd further discusses the implications of Beijing seizing control of Anbang Insurance Group, a move he calls “an extraordinarily important insight into the current Chinese government policy of consolidating financial risk.” On one hand, the government is addressing “the extent of public and private debt accumulating within the Chinese economy.” On the other hand, stakeholders must deal with the uncertainty about the government’s plans for Anbang, moving forward.

Finally, Rudd comments that the U.S. “two-pronged approach” of engagement and sanctions is “the right” mix. He emphasizes need for “a channel for dialogue [to be] kept open,” while additional sanctions “send a clear message to Pyongyang that the U.S. and its allies are not to be messed with, on the question of North Korea’s continued policy on nuclear proliferation.” (9 min., 46 sec.)

Watch the interview on Bloomberg.