Kevin Rudd, Australia’s former prime minister, has been selected as the country’s next ambassador to the United States at a time when Australia and the United States are expanding their security partnership in response to a growing China.
At a time when strategic competition is reshaping the area, Rudd brings tremendous experience to the post, according to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who dubbed him one of the world’s most sought-after experts on China.
At a news conference on Tuesday, before Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s state visit to China, Albanese remarked, “Kevin Rudd is a fantastic appointment.”
By accepting this role, “he brings a great deal of prestige to Australia as a former prime minister, as a former foreign minister.”
Since leaving office in 2013, Rudd, a native Mandarin speaker, has published and delivered numerous speeches on topics related to China’s international affairs. In September, he defended his doctoral dissertation at Oxford on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s worldview and is now the director of the Asia Society in New York.
A message left with his office for comment went unanswered.
After former foreign minister Stephen Smith was appointed to the UK ambassadorship in September, Albanese claimed that Rudd’s selection underscored the significance of the AUKUS nuclear submarine security arrangement between the United States and the United Kingdom.
Since “such decisions involve tremendous diplomatic but also, of course, a knowledge of the political systems that are in place,” Albanese remarked, “it is no accident that we are engaged in AUKUS.”
In the first months of 2023, Rudd will begin his new role.