June 17, 2024

China’s Xi Jinping meets “old friend” Henry Kissinger in Beijing to discuss “challenges and opportunities”

Beijing – Chinese leader Xi Jinping hailed former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as an “old friend” when the two met in Beijing on Thursday. Kissinger’s visit to China this week he called for a rapprochement between Washington and Beijing, which remain at loggerheads over a range of issues, from Human rights to trade and national security.

The 100-year-old diplomat was central to the United States establishing ties with communist China in the 1970s and has maintained close contact with the country’s leaders over the years.

“The Chinese people value friendship, and we will not forget our old friend and your historic contribution to promote the development of China-US relations and improve the friendship between China and the Americans,” President Xi Kissinger said on Thursday, according to state media. “This not only benefited both countries, but also changed the world.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state, attend a meeting in Beijing
Chinese President Xi Jinping and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger meet at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing, China, July 20, 2023.

CHINA DAILY/Reuters


“The world is currently experiencing changes that have not been seen for a century, and the international order is undergoing a huge change,” said the Chinese leader. “China and the United States are once again at a crossroads, and both sides must make a choice again.”

In response, Kissinger thanked Xi for hosting him at building number five of the Diaoyutai State Guest House — where he met Premier Zhou Enlai in 1971.

“The relationship between our two countries will be central to peace in the world and to the progress of our societies,” said the former diplomat.

The history of Kissinger with China

Kissinger secretly flew to Beijing in 1971 on a mission to establish relations with communist China. The trip marked the beginning of a landmark visit by former US president Richard Nixon, who sought both to end the Cold War and seek help in ending the Vietnam War.

Washington’s overtures to an isolated Beijing contributed to China’s rise to become a manufacturing powerhouse and the world’s second largest economy.

Since leaving office, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kissinger has grown significantly advising businesses on China – and has warned against a hawkish turn in US policy.

His trip this week clashed with that of US climate envoy John Kerry, and follows recent visits by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Henry Kissinger with Jiang Zemin
Chinese President Jiang Zemin shakes hands with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in Beijing, China, in a November 1989 file photo.

Forrest Anderson/Getty


“Since 1971, Dr. Kissinger has visited China more than 100 times,” CCTV said Thursday.

The former US diplomat has met Xi many times before, including in recent years during economic summits in China.

“Challenges and opportunities exist together”

State news agency Xinhua said Kissinger told Defense Minister Li Shangfu on Tuesday that, “in today’s world, there are challenges and opportunities, and both the United States and China should end misunderstandings, live peacefully and avoid confrontation.”

Kissinger also met on Wednesday with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi, who praised Kissinger’s “historic contributions to the development of ice-breaking relations between China and the US.”


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“US policy toward China needs Kissinger’s diplomatic wisdom and Nixon-style political courage,” Wang said.

Kissinger has long been a fixture in America’s elite and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating a cease-fire in Vietnam.

But he is seen as an unindicted war criminal for his role in, among other events, the extension of the Vietnam War to Cambodia and Laos, supporting coups in Chile and Argentina, and turning a blind eye to Pakistan’s atrocities during the Bangladesh war of independence in 1971.

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