Quad poses major threat to Beijing’s ambitions: Kevin Rudd

New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) Beijing has concluded that the Quad represents one of the most consequential challenges to Chinese ambitions in the years ahead, says Kevin Rudd, former Australian Prime Minister.
Writing in Foreign Affairs, Rudd, Asia Society’s president and CEO argues that the group formed by Japan, Australia, India, and the U.S. poses a major threat to Beijing’s ambitions.
“But the worst-case scenario from Beijing’s perspective is that the Quad could serve as the foundation of a broader global anti-Chinese coalition. If the Quad were to draw other Asian countries, the EU, and NATO into efforts to confront or undermine China’s international ambitions, it could over time swing the collective balance of power definitively against China”, Rudd writes.
The Quad could also lay the groundwork for a broader allied economic, customs, and standards union, which could reshape everything from global infrastructure funding to supply chains to technology standards, he adds.
Rudd examines how “The Quad” – a group formed by Japan, Australia, India, and the United States – has emerged as a central part of President Joe Biden’s diplomatic initiative in the Asia Pacific as well as a source of aggravation for his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.
The essay provides a historical background of the group, tracing its evolution from Japan’s initial proposition in 2004 to its current place at the center of regional diplomacy. Rudd explains how China has tailored its approach to the Quad over the years, and why Beijing has considerable reason to worry about the group.
Rudd is also a leading international authority on China. He began his career as a China scholar, serving as an Australian diplomat in Beijing before entering Australian politics.
Rudd said that the Quad is uniquely problematic for China’s strategy because its aim of unifying a multilateral coalition of resistance has the potential to stiffen spines across the whole of the Indo-Pacific and possibly beyond. For Xi, the critical question is whether the Quad will evolve to be large, coherent, and comprehensive enough to effectively balance against China, thereby undermining any sense that its dominance, in Asia or globally, is inevitable.
“So far, Beijing has struggled to mount an effective response to the Quad challenge. Whether Chinese officials settle on a strategy that succeeds in undermining the Quad’s progress will be one of the key factors in determining the course of U.S.-China competition – and the fate of China’s global ambitions more generally – in what has already become this “decade of living dangerously”, he added.

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