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Sino-US ties 'Key to solving world issues'
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08:19, February 26, 2008

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Thirty-five years ago when Henry Kissinger was the US secretary of state, the rationale behind the dtente between Beijing and Washington seemed simple: to overcome ideological barriers and parry common threat.

The world has undergone a lot of changes since then. The Cold War is now part of history and the leaderships on both sides belong to another generation. But the 85-year-old US diplomatic policy expert believes cooperation between China and the US remains the key to solving many international issues.

The two countries should work together on vital issues such as the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, nuclear non-proliferation, climate change and energy, Kissinger told China Daily on Sunday.

"Progress in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) depends on close cooperation between China and the US because we have learned (it) affects the security and the well-being of our country," Kissinger said.

He supports the visit of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to Pyongyang, which he compares to the Philadelphia Orchestra's tour to China in 1973.

"I also think we have to continue the Six-Party Talks in order to come up with a solution to the nuclear problem," he said.

But will Beijing and Washington keep working together closely, given the uncertainties of the US presidential campaigns? Kissinger shrugs off the worries. "In a political campaign, many things are said but they don't last.

"We have had seven American presidents since the normalization (of ties between China and the US), and no matter what was said in the campaigns, they all have come back to the theme of the beginning of the relations."

Beijing-Washington ties will keep moving forward - not always smoothly but positively - somehow like a long-term stock market curve "but without those big fluctuations", Kissinger said.

He is certain that the two sides will keep cooperating on China's core concern, the Taiwan issue, to ensure that there is no showdown in the Taiwan Straits.

"I think Beijing and Washington will cooperate and really pressure Taipei that if they do not pull back it could look extremely unfavorable," he said. "I believe that we will avoid a crisis in the Taiwan Straits."

Kissinger has met with every generation of the leadership since the establishment of the People's Republic of China, and hence is familiar with them. And he believes the present leadership can tackle complicated issues.

"Each generation has its own characteristics. Deng Xiaoping is an enormous figure for his vision and courage in guiding China on the road to market reforms. But every generation of leaders has made some significant contributions," he said.

"This generation is educated in universities and has more technical knowledge than the first generation. It has handled very complicated situations with considerable wisdom and skill."

Kissinger visited China last week at the invitation of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs. He has visited the country more than 50 times, and is impressed by the tremendous progress it has made, enabling it to navigate the changes in the world.

"I see tremendous vitality in the Chinese people and the people I talked with are also ambitious to study and to do something. I identify China with tremendous capacity to grow, and great opportunities with these people."

His last visit to China was in a totally different scenario compared to his first few trips when there was no diplomatic or trade link between Beijing and Washington. More than three decades after his ice-breaking visit, Kissinger remains proud of what he did to "open" China.

"I consider that the single most important thing I did in government and the one that had the best permanent effect."

Source: China Daily

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