In horse racing terms, Kevin Rudd is back to racing in his right class. As Foreign Minister he seems so much more assured and credible than he did as Prime Minister. Tonight on television when he appeared with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton he seemed both at ease and sensible. And most importantly he showed a welcome maturity when talking about Australia’s relations with China. The Foreign Minister, following the Australia-US Ministerial (AUSMIN) talks, quite properly refused to discount China as a military threat. He wouldn’t be drawn on whether Australia and America were preparing for emerging global power China to potentially become a future military threat. “We’re not in the business of naming threats,” he told ABC TV. “What we’ve done over many decades … is to make sure that the (Australian-US) alliance is relevant to contemporary circumstances.”

But Mr Rudd admitted China had been on the meeting’s agenda. “Yes, we do have the rise of China, we do have of course burgeoning military expenditures in many other countries in the region. It’s entirely right that the Americans, ourselves and others talk about how these rising powers, including India, contribute to a regional and global rules-based order. This is not specifically targeted at the PRC (People’s Republic of China), it’s targeted at the region as a whole.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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