Defence

Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd says US-China war no longer inconceivable

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday his government held a less dramatic view of US-China strategic tensions than a predecessor who warned of a potential “hot war” before US presidential elections in November.

Former prime minister and China scholar Kevin Rudd wrote in the Foreign Affairs journal this week that the risk of armed conflict between the United States and China in the next three months was “especially high.”

Morrison said his administration had expressed similar views in a defense policy update last month when he announced 270 billion Australian dollars ($190 billion) in new warfare capability spending, including longer-range missiles.

“Our defence update expresses it differently and certainly not as dramatically as Kevin,” Morrison told the Aspen Security Forum in an online address from the Australian capital Canberra.

“But in our own defense update, we’ve acknowledged that what was previously inconceivable and not considered even possible or likely in terms of those types of outcomes is not considered in those contexts anymore,” he added.

Morrison disagreed with many in Washington that the United States was in a new Cold War with China. Morrison said the “circumstances are quite different.” He had no answers for how China’s push for power in the South China Sea, on the Indian border and in Hong Kong should be handled.

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