Kissinger gets warm welcome from Chinese leadership


Xi was even warmer with his words, “The Chinese people never forget their old friends and Sino-US relations will always be linked with the name of Henry Kissinger.”…reports Asian Lite News

China’s leadership last week gave a warm welcome to former US National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Kissinger not only met with China’s President Xi Jinping but also with China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, and also with defence minister Li Shangfu, whom US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin was not allowed to see, Poltico reported. During the 1970s, Kissinger served as the US Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald R Ford.

The Biden administration has spent most of 2023 trying to restart high-level contacts with their Chinese counterparts after a wayward Chinese military balloon blew up relations beyond the control of both countries.

The Biden administration wants to see a return to regular diplomatic exchange. In recent months Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry have all been to Beijing, reported the US-based politics-focused media outlet.

The results of Kissinger’s visit have been mixed. China’s response to these visits has not been warm. Of the three Biden policy principals who recently visit Beijing, Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping only met with Blinken, Politico reported.

Wang said, “Kissinger has made historic contributions to breaking the ice in China-US relations, and played an irreplaceable role in enhancing understanding between the two countries.”

Xi was even warmer with his words, “The Chinese people never forget their old friends and Sino-US relations will always be linked with the name of Henry Kissinger.”

Kissinger reciprocated the warm vibe, telling his interlocutors that he was a “friend of China.”

However, the State Department discarded that last possibility in their daily briefing, stressing that Kissinger was travelling as a private citizen and not under the aegis of the US government.

Still, the contrast was striking between the warmth on display at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse with Kissinger compared to the chilly atmosphere at the Great Hall of the People, where Biden officials met with their counterparts.

It is in China’s and Kissinger’s mutual interests to play nice. For China, it was an opportunity to suggest that they would respond better to US policies. For Kissinger, the visit represents an opportunity to do what he has been trying to do ever since he left public office, maintain his relevancy and influence, POLITICO reported.

To understand Beijing’s perspective, it is important to remember that the political climate in Washington has turned sharply against the Chinese Communist Party over the last decade. For all the talk of polarization of American foreign policy, one of the few areas of recent bipartisan consensus has been to view China as a rival rather than a partner.

This began at the tail end of the Obama administration. The Trump administration ramped up the hostility, highlighting human rights abuses in Xinjiang, bolstering its support of Taiwan, and launching a trade war with China, the US publication reported.

In its first two years, the Biden administration has accelerated the retreat from engagement and the turn towards strategic competition. This became evident in the first high-level meeting between Chinese and US officials in Anchorage, Alaska in March 2021.

After Chinese officials castigated their US counterparts, Blinken responded in kind in front of television cameras, warning China that its actions would result in a “far more violent” world.

For the next two years, the Biden administration made it clear that it took strategic competition with China seriously. The United States jumpstarted the Quad and launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, structures that were clearly designed to counter China, the Politico reported.

In his statements, President Joe Biden seemed to signal an end to US “strategic ambiguity” on Taiwan, making it quite clear that the United States would step in to help defend the island from a PRC military attack. The administration imposed export controls that made the Trump administration’s measures seem picayune by comparison.

After 30-plus years of breakneck engagement, started by Kissinger’s first visit to China in 1971, it is understandable that Xi and his leadership cadre felt nostalgic for a time when US officials were more interested in opening up China’s market to American exports than closing the US economy to Chinese exports, the US media outlet said.

Politico opined that Kissinger’s reputation has taken a hit in recent years, as his past policy mistakes and attempts to attain power have become clearer to the untrained eye. Great power politics, however, remains the one area where even Kissinger’s bitterest critics acknowledge that he had some juice. (ANI)

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