HONG KONG — Kevin Rudd, the non-Chinese world's first Chinese-speaking prime minister, has dealt a lethal blow to a budding "Asian Arc of Democracy" that was actively pushed by former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a notion that appeared designed to isolate Beijing.

Instead, Australia has decided to improve relations with China and has just launched the first "strategic dialogue" between the two countries with new Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi.

During the bilateral strategic meeting, Smith informed Yang that Australia would no longer participate in the quadrilateral strategic dialogue involving the United States, Japan and India.