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NEW YORK - The meeting between US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping will be a seminal event in Sino-US relations as well as in the relations of the world, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said on Tuesday.
"I am very encouraged by the announcement that the two presidents will meet, and especially by the agenda that has been announced," Kissinger said in a speech delivered at a forum entitled "US-China Economic Relations in the Next Decade", sponsored by the China-United States Exchange Foundation and held in the headquarters of Asia Society.
It "specifically emphasizes the long range relationship, the review of recent interactions, and the definition of long range goals, which could make that meeting a seminal event in Sino-US relations, and also in the relations of the world," said the 89-year-old Kissinger.
Chinese President Xi is scheduled to meet with Obama at a China-US Summit in California early next month, which will be following Xi's state visits to Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and Mexico.
The meeting between Xi and Obama will be the first between the two since the Chinese president took office in March. According to the White House, the leaders will hold "in-depth discussions on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues".
"We have now reached a completely different stage in relationship. In the beginning, we have a common adversary, but as time evolves, we are now facing a common challenge, and the challenge is how to build a real world, for the first time in history, on a global basis," said Kissinger.
It has already been pointed out, the United States and China have its special obligation in a very complicated period, he added.
There's study at Harvard, which shows that in history there have been 15 examples of rising countries confronting established countries, and in the 11 cases, it led to conflicts. The challenge is not just to avoid conflicts, but to create a new and constructive relationship between the two countries that look at issues historically, from not always the same point of view, Kissinger explained.
"Now we are in a situation that we have a common set of problems, if we don't solve them jointly, the whole world will be divided in every part between people who have been pressed to join one model or another. That will be a disaster for the two countries and for the world," he added.
Kissinger suggested that what China and the United States have to do is to approach a common conception of how problems should be dealt with, and then work with the international community, to make it a real international community.
"Both of our countries have serious domestic issues, as they are moving into the new period, both of our countries face a new international situation, but both our countries have understood that we need a cooperative pattern, we now have to define what it is," he added.
"I think I'm very hopeful that when both sides pursued the agenda that has been put forward, that we will be moving into an even greater period of Sino-US relations, and a greater period for peace and progress in the world," said he.