Countries should unite to take on China, dialogue no longer works, says former Australian PM Rudd

Mr Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia. (Photo AFP)

(, May29’21) – Engagement and dialogue were the ways the global community tried to navigate China, but there appears to be growing consensus that is not working, the May 29 cited former Australian Prime Minister Mr Kevin Rudd as saying, urging countries to unite if they were to take on it effectively.

Countries should unite against China’s growing economic and geopolitical coercion or risk being singled out and punished by Beijing, Rudd has said.

In Particular, Rudd has said governments in the West should not be afraid to challenge China on issues such as human rights.

He has noted that countries around the world were navigating a new geopolitical order framed by the rising dominance of China.

“If you are going to have a disagreement with Beijing, as many governments around the world are now doing, it’s far better to arrive at that position conjointly with other countries rather than unilaterally, because it makes it easier for China to exert bilateral leverage against you,” Rudd has said in the BBC’s Talking Business Asia programme.

Rudd’s comments came as relations between Australia and China had deteriorated to their worst point in decades.

It all began with Australia’s call for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic that set off a new storm between the two sides.

China retaliated by placing sanctions on Australian imports – including wine, beef, lobster and barley – and has hinted more may come.

It also suspended key economic dialogues with Canberra, which effectively means there is no high-level contact to smooth things out, the report noted.

On its side, Australia has scrapped agreements tied to China’s massive infrastructure project, the Belt and Road Initiative. It also banned Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei from building the country’s 5G network.

Rudd was Australia’s Labour Party Prime Minister twice between 2007 and 2013 and is known for his fluency in Chinese language.

Australia’s economic relationship with China had only grown in importance in the last few decades with a fifth of its exports going to the latter; iron ore being a major component of it.

With engagement and dialogue no longer working, Rudd has said navigating China means picking your battles, for which purpose like-minded countries should unite.

He has said the fact that China does not like criticisms of its treatment of its Uyghur population in Xinjiang, as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan “doesn’t necessarily mean the rest of us shouldn’t do it.”


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