By China Watcher
In his official maiden trip to the US at the Washington-based Brookings Institution on 31 March 2008, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called for careful management of US-China relations, saying it was critical for the success of the "Pacific Century".
The term Pacific Century had been used previously to describe the 21st century that some believed will be dominated, especially economically, by the Pacific Rim states, particularly China, Japan and the United States. More recently, the term Asia Century was coined to place greater emphasis on Asian nations, including India.
According to him, the long term management of this critical relationship will determine whether there will be a Pacific Century. There should be constant dialogues with China to encourage the Asian giant to be a "responsible stakeholder" contributing to a "harmonious" global and regional order. Confrontational and isolationist policies as suggested by various anti-China groups, neo-conservative politicians and activists will not work.
Mr. Rudd, a China expert and “Sinophile”, is one of the world’s “white” leaders respected in China for his in depth knowledge about China and is regarded as a sincere friend of the Chinese people. He is also a pragmatic person known for his application of his diplomatic skills in dealing with the potential superpower while he was a diplomat in Beijing. Mr. Rudd speaks fluent Mandarin.
He noted China's rapidly increasing military expenditure, saying questions of "transparency" and "uncertainties that concern long-term strategic purpose" were critical and has to be managed jointly with China.
Rudd added "There is nothing pre-determined about US-China conflict in the future," who has pushed for closer Australian ties with China. "We decide the future by our actions today."