China’s future “still uncertain,” says Kevin Rudd while questioning the country’s economic numbers

“If China can show a solid growth figure of five or five plus for 2023, that will actually underpin a lot of global growth for the coming year,” he said.

The former prime minister was speaking at an event hosted by Chinese news website Caixin Media at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

When asked to describe China’s next chapter, the topic of his panel discussion, in a single word, Rudd replied: “Still unsure.”

He said he plans to “flip up to Beijing” before taking up the post of Australia’s US ambassador in March.

“All I can say is that we missed you after three years in China,” Rudd told the sold-out event.

“I love this place, but I’ve been there for three years,” he said.

“So your question is when do I go back? Maybe before I start my new job in Washington, maybe next month.

“I need to do an Asia Society event in Hong Kong so I can transfer to Beijing.”


Rudd spoke alongside Weng Jieming, China’s vice chairman of the State Property Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC).

Weng said China’s reopening is “high quality” and good for building stable supply chains and developing cutting-edge technology between Chinese and foreign companies, and “continuously refining a fair and just order.”

“China will definitely keep its growth at a high level, but we need reciprocity in our level of openness to ensure our cooperation advances on a stable basis,” Weng said.

He added that China’s huge market brings “mutual benefits” to everyone.

Rudd, a fluent Mandarin speaker and former foreign minister, said he has visited China up to 150 times over the course of his life. He was a senior diplomat for Australia in Beijing in the 1980s before entering Parliament and becoming Prime Minister in 2007.

He said that if China and the United States can keep geopolitics “within a certain balance,” then we should see “reasonably.” [economic] Growth”.

He said it is critical that the United States and China manage their five-year strategic contest so it does not escalate into war. However, he said there will continue to be high levels of “technology decoupling” as the US and its allies shunned or actively blocked the use of Chinese technology infrastructure such as Huawei telecom equipment.

“The challenge for geopolitics is, can we find a stabilizing mechanism to prevent it from escalating into a future crisis or war?” he said.

But he said he was heartened by the recent meeting between US President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping, where he said the pair took “some tentative steps in that direction.”

“There’s a disposition to trying to put some guard rails around this relationship… a new safety net.

“So I think that’s encouraging,” he said.

Asked if he was concerned about the new ambassador being loose on the international stage on issues like China, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told Sky’s late-night host Chris Kenny that he had no concerns about the high-profile candidate.

“Kevin Rudd is fully aware of his responsibility. And he will fulfill them,” Albanese said.

“He’s not in Washington, he’s not Australia’s Ambassador, Arthur Sinodinos is Australia’s Ambassador to Washington and we continue to work with Arthur who has done a very good job on the arrangements with AUKUS.

“If Kevin Rudd is Australia’s ambassador, that’s all he will focus on,” the Prime Minister said.

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Callan Tansill

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