Beijing‘s top diplomat Wang Yi told Henry Kissinger on Wednesday that it is “impossible to contain or encircle” China, hailing the former US secretary of state’s role in opening up relations between the two powers.
“China’s development has a strong endogenous momentum and inevitable historical logic, and it is impossible to try to transform China, and it is even more impossible to encircle and contain China,” Wang told the 100-year-old Kissinger in a meeting in Beijing, according to a foreign ministry statement.
Kissinger, then US national security adviser, secretly flew to Beijing in July 1971 on a mission to establish relations with communist China.
That trip set the stage for a landmark visit by president Richard Nixon, who sought both to shake up the Cold War and enlist help 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 largest economy after the United States.
Since leaving office, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kissinger has grown wealthy advising businesses on China — and has warned against a hawkish turn in US policy.
Hailing China’s “friendship established with old friends”, Wang on Wednesday praised Kissinger’s “historic contributions to the ice-breaking development of China-US relations”.
“China’s policy towards the United States maintains a high degree of continuity, and follows the fundamental guidelines proposed by President Xi Jinping, which are mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation,” Wang added.
“These three guidelines are fundamental and long-term, and they are also the right way for China and the United States, two big countries, to get along with each other,” China’s top diplomat said.
“The US policy toward China needs Kissinger-style diplomatic wisdom and Nixon-style political courage,” he added.
Kissinger met Tuesday in Beijing with Defence Minister Li Shangfu as part of a surprise visit to China.
“Kissinger said in today’s world, challenges and opportunities coexist, and both the United States and China should eliminate misunderstandings, coexist peacefully, and avoid confrontation,” state news agency Xinhua reported.
“He expressed the hope that both sides will exert wisdom, make every effort to create positive outcomes for the development of bilateral relations, and safeguard world peace and stability,” it added.
The elder statesman’s trip to China coincides with that of US climate envoy John Kerry, and follows recent visits by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.