Western nations must 'act collectively' to curb Chinese aggression, ex-Australian PM says

28 March 2021, 13:18

By Seán Hickey

Western democracies can 'lean back against' Chinese intervention in developing nations by pooling together to 'fund alternative networks' in these states.

Kevin Rudd is the President of the Asia Society and former Prime Minister of Australia. He spoke to Tom Swarbrick to make the case that western nations should form a bloc in opposition to China's belt and road initiative, which has seen many developing nations hand over their sovereignty in exchange for infrastructure.

"How much political buy in is this going to require," Tom wondered, expressing concern over whether or not nations would participate in such an effort.

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"This becomes a question of critical mass," Mr Rudd insisted, noting that China has already proved a hostile actor against some leading liberal democracies such as Canada, Australia and Norway, which should be enough for nations to band together and act.

"Either we are indifferent to what occurs to other countries, or we choose to act collectively." Tom wondered what would happen if nations didn't take part in such an initiative.

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Mr Rudd shared a Chinese expression with Tom: "Kill one to warn 100."

"That's easy to do if you have one country out there swinging in the breeze," he noted.

"If you have however, a collectivity of countries who will then themselves...lean back against such punitive actions by China," there will be a different international order than there currently is.

He said that if such a policy was adopted, the West "can have direct influence of Chinese behaviour," and provide secure futures for some of the world's developing nations.