Foreign and Military Affairs

Kissinger optimistic about China-US relations

Updated: 2011-06-28 13:26

By Ma Liyao and Qin Zhongwei (China Daily)

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BEIJING - China and the United States should have a non-exclusive and mutually supportive relationship around the world, Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state, said on Monday.

Kissinger optimistic about China-US relations
Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state, shakes hands with a participant at a forum in Beijing on Monday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his secret mission to China. [Zhang Wei / China Daily]

"I'm optimistic about Sino-US relations, and confident that we will overcome difficulties and build up a structure of friendly cooperation," he said.

Kissinger was in Beijing for a series of public and private meetings to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his secret mission in July 1971 to break the ice in China-US relations.

Kissinger optimistic about China-US relations

After his memorable 48 hours in Beijing 40 years ago, the two countries opened a new era in international relations, with then US president Richard Nixon's first-ever visit to Beijing one year later.

China and the US established a formal diplomatic relationship in 1979.

The Sino-US relationship has now become "a key element for the peace and prosperity of the world", Kissinger said.

He added that China and the US should seek to shape a new world.

Commenting on the current complicated international situation, Kissinger said that China and the US are not competing to dominate the world.

"Such competition is meaningless," he said, adding that on the basis of a strong strategic partnership, China and the US can have friendship with each other.

Regarding the South China Sea issue, Kissinger said that freedom of navigation in the area, in which the US has claimed national interests, is a separate issue apart from the territorial disputes between countries in the region.

"The US' primary interest is a good relationship with China, not provoking difficulties with it, and the US is not stirring up the Philippines and Vietnam," he said.

During his trip to Beijing, Kissinger also discussed his latest book, On China.

"What I tried to do with my new book is that I tried to explain, based on my years of experience, what Chinese think about the world," he said.

"That's the best I could do in the spirit of building confidence between the two countries," Kissinger added.

The 88-year-old has contributed greatly to communication and mutual understanding between China and the US for decades, traveling across the Pacific more than 70 times over the past 40 years.

Kissinger said that when he first came to China, he knew little about the country, but now he admires the Chinese people and Chinese history.

Kissinger has visited Peking University four times between 2001 and 2008 for face-to-face talks with students, according to Yuan Ming, director of the American Studies Center at Peking University, who witnessed the four visits.

Qu Xing, director of China Institute of International Studies, said Kissinger set a good example in bringing the two countries closer by promoting public diplomacy, increasing understanding between China and the US through non-traditional means.




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