I'm a strong supporter of China, US growth: Kevin Rudd

Updated: 2013-06-02 20:35


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CANBERRA - "The world is big enough to accommodate two very large economies and that's why I'm a strong supporter of US growth and I'm a strong supporter of Chinese growth," said former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua.

Rudd, a fluent Chinese speaker and China expert, said he shared Chinese President Xi Jinping's view on China and the United States, saying"we can in fact carve out a common future for Americans and Chinese as we approach this early decades of the 21st century."

"It (American economy) will remain a very strong, significant, creative economy in the future. Its overwhelming advantage over the rest of the world is its simple power of innovation and the power of American innovation across all of the sciences and all the technologies remains world leading," Rudd said.

"Therefore the argument that the United States economy is in a process of inexorable decline, I think, is a false premise. You need to take a long view of economic history. "

Rudd said working at an Asia-Pacific level to build trust between the US and China would lead to a positive outcome for both countries.

He proposed the East Asian Summit be used as a building block for the US-China relationship and to build strategic trust with a conscious new roadmap for the future.

He admitted that there are a lot of distrust in China-US relations right now, "but if you identify the areas where trust can be built and the trust gap narrowed, then frankly there are a lot of those which present themselves."

He identified four areas with potentials that the two nations can build trust and cooperation, namely cyber security, nuclear weapon non-proliferation, minimizing risks of incidents at sea and concluding the World Trade Organization's current Doha round of trade talks.

As for Australia's relations with China, its largest trading partner, Rudd recalled that when he first went to work in China 30 years ago, "China didn't make the top 20 trading partners of Australia. So things have changed and are heading into a good direction."

The former Australian ambassador to China expressed his concern that a Free Trade Agreement talk between Australia and China was not progressing fast enough.

"Our friends in China are very concerned that the Australian economy is a bit large to fully integrate into a free trade agreement across all sectors of the economy. China is particularly concerned about the impact on Chinese agriculture if there is free trade in agriculture. The Chinese are also concerned about unfettered Australian access to the Chinese services industries."

"There are reservations on both sides. But my own view is that with political will, we can produce an outcome," he said.

"I see a lot of 'win, win' in this, but we've also got a bit of mutual compromise in order to bring about a result," he added.

Rudd also dismissed concerns about Australia putting obstacles to Chinese investment in Australian agriculture.

"Australia's foreign investment policy is totally nondiscriminatory. We look at each significant investment on it's merits and it's very rare that we will take a national interest argument to say that an investment should be changed or reduced or canceled. More than 95 percent of China's investment applications to the Foreign Investment Review Board have been accepted and this is a very high rate," he said.

Rudd is also proud of Australia's China literacy, calling it one of the highest in western countries, thanks to the country's investment in this area over 40 years.