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Former Australian PM Rudd calls for U.S.-China "strategic roadmap"

English.news.cn   2012-10-05 16:15:14            

SYDNEY, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has called on closer U.S.-China ties, outlining his vision of a "strategic road map" focusing on tighter person-to- person communications.

Speaking at the Australian Foreign Correspondents Association, the mandarin-speaking former prime minister (2007 to 2010) and former foreign minister (2010 to 2012) argued that the leaders of China and the United States need to outline a five year U.S.-China Strategic Roadmap.

"In the absence of such a strategic roadmap, there is always a danger of strategic drift." Rudd said.

Rudd has suggested in the past that inconsistent U.S. policy has undermined Chinese confidence while the U.S. often complains that the Chinese government does not always speak or act with the full engagement or compliance of the Chinese military.

Rudd said an U.S.-China Strategic Roadmap would assist in removing some of these uncertainties and ambiguities.

It (a road-map) provides central organizing principles within both administrations, therefore forcing the various agencies within both administrations to agree to and implement a central strategic policy with agreed rules of diplomatic engagement."

Now a backbencher in the Julia Gillard Labor Government, Rudd remains a leading figure in Australia, particularly on Chinese relations.

Identifying the U.S.-China relationship as the key strategic relationship in the Asia Century, Rudd hoped that top political leaders of China and the United States could meet regularly with all the key members of their respective staff.

"These individuals need to become highly familiar with each other. At present they are not," Rudd told reporters.

He invisaged four to five sets of substantial engagements scheduled regularly throughout each calendar year.

According to Rudd, the G20, APEC, the UN General Assembly (and possibly the EAS) provide opportunities for regular engagement.

"But these need to be substantive half or full day engagements around a long-term structured agenda not just the protocol requirements of the day or, for that matter, the issue management of the day.

"As these regular summits tend to occur in the second half of the year there should also be agreement for a regular bilateral summit in each other's capitals in the first half of the year." Rudd said.

While a regular structure is necessary, Rudd said of critical importance was both countries need to have an undisputed "point person" to be the ultimate "go to" person on the relationship.

"At the U.S. end, this should mean the National Security Advisor or a senior official within the NSC who can speak comfortably across the administration, and with authority.

"At this critical juncture of U.S.-China relations, America needs the next Henry Kissinger for all the back channeling that is necessary, both behind and between official Presidential meetings.

Similarly China needs to appoint such a person as well.

Finally, Rudd hoped for a U.S.-China program to make the current global rules-based order work.

He noted, "We are all familiar with the impasse over Syria which is not likely to be resolved in the near term."

Editor: Lu Hui
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