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Rudd shares expertise on China -

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ELEANOR HALL: We begin today in Washington where Prime Minster Kevin Rudd has been showcasing his
expertise on China.

Mr Rudd spoke to the two Democrats who are vying for their party's nomination for President -
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton - and it is understood that the relationship with China was a
major part of both conversations.

He also gave a speech to the Brookings Institution in which he set out a plan to minimise conflict
with China.

Mr Rudd proposed that the US and Australia encourage China to participate more in global and
regional institutions.

Louise Yaxley is travelling with Mr Rudd and filed this report.

LOUISE YAXLEY: Mr Rudd has been criticised in Australia for his focus on China and leaving Japan
off his itinerary for this trip but it is China that the leaders in the US want to talk to him

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have noted Mr Rudd's knowledge of China and sought to tap
into it with questions about the region during their talks with him today.

Mr Rudd spent around 40 minutes with Senator Clinton and spoke to Senator Obama for around 30
minutes on the phone. Both senators also touched on the issue of climate change but regional
co-operation has emerged as the key theme.

Kevin Rudd set the scene with a speech to the Brookings Institution where he called for a new
regional mechanism to increase co-operation and understanding.

He says the United States and China should both be involved so that they are working together and
gaining a better understanding.

Mr Rudd's idea is that the new security grouping could be built up from the six-party talks
countries which include Japan, China, Russia, the US and Korea that are currently dealing with the
North Korean nuclear issue.

KEVIN RUDD: There is a certain fragility to this strategic theatre and therefore there is a great
opportunity through regional security architecture to build genuine confidence and security
building measures.

So what I outlined today was just one or two practical ways in which that might enfold. An
extension of six-party talks into something bigger and better. Also using some of the existing
machinery, for example, the ASEAN regional forum to undertake co-operation between the security
forces of various regional states on humanitarian intervention particularly on the back of natural

I think its been the absence of that which has been noted and felt and, but there is still time for
us collectively to act and we look forward to working very much with this administration and the
subsequent administration on how that might best be done.

But I think the time is now right for the emergence of that.

LOUISE YAXLEY: He says this would be the best way to head off US China conflict.

KEVIN RUDD: There is nothing predetermined about a US China conflict in the future. We decide the
future by our actions today and we need to give ourselves the best chance to choose the best future
for us all.

We need to have strong regional and global institutions. A China that is positively engaged in
those institutions as a responsible stakeholder, contributing to a harmonious global and regional
order and continued good management of the China US relations by both sides.

For Australia, the single core question of whether ours will be a Pacific century, a truly Pacific
century, rests on the long-term management of this most critical relationship between America and

LOUISE YAXLEY: So it's been a day for Kevin Rudd to show off his foreign policy expertise and its
been noted by two of the people who are in the running to be US President.

Senator Clinton says she addressed China and other south east Asian and Pacific rim issues with Mr
Rudd and it is understood Senator Obama discussed how Australia could work with the US on managing
the relationship with China and the region.

Mr Rudd is due to meet the Republican, John McCain tomorrow.

Mr Rudd appears prepared to accept the downside of his knowledge of China. That is, that he will be
labelled as too China focused and instead he intends concentrating on the opportunities that his
knowledge presents and it is understood that he accepts that there will be concern from Japan but
he is prepared to wear that as well, seeing it as impossible to ignore the Chinese challenge.

This is Louise Yaxley in Washington for The World Today.

ELEANOR HALL: Kevin Rudd is attempting to deal with the rift with the other major power in the
region today by locking in a meeting with Japan's Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.

As we heard on the program yesterday, Mr Rudd has been criticised for not including Japan on his
17-day overseas trip and for failing to even make a phone call to his Japanese counterpart.

But The World Today understands that Australian officials are working to schedule a meeting between
the two leaders in a bid to put the controversy behind them.