by Julia Pierrepont III
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- It is nonsensical to assert that China and the United States are headed to a comprehensive economic decoupling, said former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
In today's world, U.S.-China interaction determines the central dynamic of the wider Asia-Pacific region, he told Xinhua on Tuesday at an entertainment summit organized by Asia Society, a nonprofit institution.
"Whether you like it or not, U.S.-China relations are affecting the Asia-Pacific region big-time," he said, adding that they will continue to shape not just the entertainment industry but the future of the region as well.
The long-time China hand acknowledged that the relationship between the two large countries is going through a rough patch, but he rejected the allegation that China and the United States are substantively decoupling from each other.
"I'm the first one to recognize there are profound difficulties in the U.S.-China relationship, but to say that we are definitively on a trajectory to decoupling is a vast exaggeration of reality," said Rudd, who now heads the Asia Society Policy Institute.
In fact, he added, the idea that these two countries are proceeding in the direction of any sort of comprehensive economic decoupling is "just a lot of bulldust."
He noted that U.S. and Chinese capital markets are actively refusing any decoupling plan, holding fast to the two countries' huge financial relationship -- a relationship that carries trillions of dollars and is too big to fail.
Pointing to the toll of the U.S.-initiated trade war with China and the economic interests of both countries, Rudd expressed cautious optimism about China and the United States signing what is known as a "phase one" deal as soon as possible.
The next phase would be even harder, he predicted, urging the two sides to solve their disputes before the row would have a wounding effect on global confidence.
In the midst of global tensions, the entertainment industries have a far more important role to play, said the former Australian leader, noting that much of international tensions stem from how peoples think about each other.
He called for more efforts in exploring the deeper themes of love and life that unite rather than divide different cultures.
"People utterly different from each other can not only coexist but actually like each other, can work together, and form interesting creative futures together," he said.