18 JUNE 2022

Those who tuned into the U3APP seminar on 18 June were given a thought-provoking perspective by Professor Richard Cullen on the emergence of China as a world power and what this might mean for Australia.

Professor Cullen, renowned international scholar acknowledged that some of the territory he would cover would be contentious.

What followed was a fascinating insight into the rise of China – its deep connection to its Confucian past, its engagement with the world – its open-door policy from 1976 and its spectacular success in lifting vast numbers of its people out of poverty.

The key to China’s booming wealth according to Richard Cullen was investment in education and in infrastructure. China is expected to be the biggest economy in the world by 2030.

Inevitably this emergence of China as a dominant world power has led to changes in the world order.

Foremost is the changing and uneasy relationship with the USA.

Australia while continuing to benefit hugely from trade with China has been wary of the new assertiveness of China

Professor Cullen stressed that the Canberra- Beijing relationship should not be the same as the US- Beijing relationship. He highlighted that the USA spends nearly 3 times as much on defence as China. He reiterated that Australia had to find its own ways of working with Beijing that suited our interests and that a new Government in Australia has an opportunity for a renewed relationship. He thought that perhaps we could learn from New Zealand by keeping the batteries for the megaphone in the cupboard!

Professor Cullen’s presentation was fascinating – clear, coherent, research based and provocative. Marcel Colman proved himself again to be the consummate facilitator.

Click on this link to see a video recording of the seminar.

Pam Caven

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