Kevin Rudd, president of the Asia Society, speaks on the sidelines of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore on Nov. 15, 2022.
Ore Huiying | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been appointed Australia’s next ambassador to the United States at a time when both countries are deepening security cooperation in response to a rising China.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called Rudd one of the world’s most sought-after experts on China and said he would bring significant experience to the role at a time when the region was being reshaped by strategic competition.
“Kevin Rudd is an outstanding appointment,” said Albanese at a news conference on Tuesday ahead of Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s state visit to China.
“He brings a great deal of credit to Australia by agreeing to take up this position as a former prime minister, as a former foreign minister.”
Rudd, who speaks fluent Mandarin, has written and spoken widely on foreign relations with China since he quit politics in 2013. He completed an Oxford doctorate on the world view of China’s president, Xi Jinping, in September and heads international relations institute the Asia Society in New York.
His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Albanese said the appointment of Rudd, which follows the September appointment of former foreign minister Stephen Smith to the UK ambassadorship, reflected the importance of the AUKUS nuclear submarine security deal with the United States and the United Kingdom
“It is no accident we are engaged in AUKUS and that those decisions require significant diplomatic but also of course a knowledge of the political structures that are in place,” said Albanese.
Rudd will take up his post in early 2023.