(From The Sydney Morning Herald)
A popular theory that communist rule in China has started to collapse is wrong and a regional conflict starting in the South China Sea is also unlikely, former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd said.
Rudd, speaking during a panel discussion on US TV news channel CNN, bluntly rejected respected China expert David Shambaugh’s argument Chinese communist rule was in its final phase.
Mr Shambaugh detailed his views in The Wall Street Journal in March.
“This so-called China collapse-ism thesis has been galloping along here in the US, and elsewhere in the world, since David wrote that,” Rudd told CNN host Fareed Zakaria on Sunday.
“But, collapse-ism, I think, is just dead wrong.”
Rudd also rejected fears US and China sabre-rattling in the South China Sea would spark a regional military conflict.
“I think the underlying dynamic is that neither side has any interest to allow any significant incident to occur, which would then flame into a regional conflict,” Rudd, president of the New York-headquartered Asia Society Policy Institute, said.
“From the Chinese side that would upset the agenda in terms of their number one priority which is to continue to transform the economy.
“And secondly from Beijing’s perspective, if they were to trigger conflict with the United States, the military realists in the People’s Liberation Army know full well that they would in all probability lose hands down.
“… From the American side, America as we have seen more broadly in US strategic policy around the world, has no particular interest in going to war by accident or design in Asia so these incidents will come and go.
“I suggest, analytically speaking, we take a bit of a cold shower because I don’t think we are at the cusp of something radically spinning out of control.”
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