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China’s rapid economic expansion is having beneficial impacts that stretch far beyond its own borders, according to former Australian Prime Minister John Howard. Howard delivered the Fisher Family lecture last night at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum.
“We take the view that China’s growth has not only been good for China, but it is good for the whole world,” Howard said. “We think it is remarkably good thing to see a nation of such size and history to be developing economically and in the process lifting tens of millions of people out of poverty.”
China, Howard said, is at the “center of the shift” of the world’s middle class, with the World Bank estimating that by 2030 some 500 million middle-class citizens will live in the Asia-Pacific region.
And Howard argued that China’s remarkable economic growth will eventually begin to force changes its political structure, saying that “it is impossible to remain economically liberal and politically authoritarian.”
The former prime minister also praised Australia’s longstanding alliance with the U.S., calling it “deep and rich and old.”
“The things that we have in common are the values of respect for individual liberty and freedom and our passion for democracy and our view that democratic forms will be embraced by all the people of the world who have the opportunity to experience them,” he said.