Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on Tuesday pressed for a global effort to bring China into institutions, saying that the future of the world economy depended on it.
Rudd said that bodies such as the G20 and the East Asia Summit could put Beijing on the right path as its power grows.
“Continued regional and global economic growth will depend on maintaining for the next 40 years the sort of strategic stability in the East that we have seen over the last 40 years,” Rudd said in an event in Washington.
“And this will not be an easy thing to do,” he said.
Rudd acknowledged a myriad of concerns abroad about Beijing — from growing assertiveness to human rights to environmental pollution — but said that it was crucial also to look at Chinese leaders’ own interests and way of thinking.
Rudd said the US and its allies should talk to China in the terms of its philosophical tradition — such as the concept, often cited by Beijing’s leadership, of creating a “harmonious world.”
He said the G20 was an area where China has had a “positive” and “forward looking” role.
“The Chinese recognized, particularly at a time of potential global economic implosion, that they had huge interests at stake in preserving the order,” he said.
Rudd also stressed the importance of the East Asia Summit, an annual forum created in 2005.
However, Rudd said that China’s track record remained mixed and highlighted its assertiveness on territorial disputes in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.
Rudd welcomed the calm over one issue that has long raised tensions — Taiwan — but he hinted at concern next year when President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) runs for re-election.
“The Taiwan Straits [sic] remains mercifully stable, although the stability that we see now remains hostage to Taiwanese domestic electoral processes in the year ahead,” he said.