Xi's Rise and the Prospects of a U.S.-China Cold War

Kevin Rudd and Ian Bremmer on Facebook Live

ASPI President Kevin Rudd sat down with Eurasia Group President and Founder and ASPI Distinguished Fellow Ian Bremmer for a conversation on China broadcast on Facebook Live. The two discussed the implications of China’s announcement that it is getting rid of presidential term limits, as well as the possibility of a cold war between the United States and China.

On February 25, 2018, China’s communist party announced that will remove the two-term limit on the country’s president Xi Jinping. Having followed Chinese politics for decades, Rudd says he had “seen this coming for about 5 years… and I have said all along that this guy was going to be China’s most powerful leader since Deng and then Mao, and I think that has all proven to be the case”. Rudd points to the entrenchment of "Xi Jinping Thought" into the Chinese constitution, the establishment of a “new national supervisory agency, which looks over all law enforcement agencies,” and now the removal of presidential term limits, as three clear signals of Xi’s significant “concentration of power.” Given “his control of the security apparatus, the military, key personnel in the Central Committee of the Politburo,” Xi “is as secure as anyone can be in an authoritarian political system,” according to Rudd.

In light of U.S. President Donald Trump’s attacks on China regarding trade and his recent decision to impose high tariffs aimed at products imported from China, Rudd believes that a cold war between China and the United States, “is becoming increasingly probable.” (27 min.)

Watch the interview on Facebook. 

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