Give dialogue a chance, Australia’s ex-PM tells China, US

by Chris Zappone

The former prime minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, delivered a speech in China on November 4 in which he outlines a new non-US/non-China dominated security arrangement. It’s a remarkable address, all but ignored by the MSM in the West, in which he calls for the US and Chinese presidents to outline a five-year US-China Strategic roadmap.

Calling it Pax Pacifica, Mr Rudd argues that leaders from 18 East Asian nations plus India could meet with the goal of marrying a “stable rules-based order” with the Chinese concept of a “harmonious world.”

“If we are able to agree with such a concept of Pax Pacifica which is neither exclusively American, nor exclusively Chinese, but instead a common concept for the Asian hemisphere overall, then we should advance our practical work to turn such a concept into reality,” said Mr Rudd in a speech to Peking University at the closing ceremony of the Beijing Forum.

The former PM should know. He is fluent in Mandarin and has spent many years as a diplomat and China policy wonk. He’s also a sitting member of parliament. Mr Rudd said the “best vehicle” to achieve the goal was at the East Asia Summit. I’m sure his proposals will be uniformly ignored but he at least shows someone was giving peace a chance.

Comparing Asia today to the Cold War, Mr Rudd said, “The truth is, in Asia we have embraced very few confidence and security building measures of any description.”

“That is in part why our security policy environment is so brittle,” he said. Brittle it is. Both US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta are travelling to Perth this month to discuss US access to naval ports in the region.

AV