China / Government

Xi recognizes Kissinger as 'trailblazer'

By ZHAO SHENGNAN (China Daily) Updated: 2015-03-18 07:07

President meets former top US diplomat in Beijing, conveys message of positive intent

Xi recognizes Kissinger as 'trailblazer'

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 17, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

Six months before his first state visit to the United States, President Xi Jinping sent a message about China's willingness to strengthen cooperation and dispel misunderstandings when he met on Tuesday with a key figure who helped establish formal Sino-US relations in the 1970s.

Xi told former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger in Beijing that both sides should manage differences and sensitive issues in a constructive manner and grasp the important opportunity to enhance the relationship.

Hailing Kissinger as the "trailblazer of this relationship", Xi said China needs a peaceful environment for development and would like to work with the US to protect the relationship and implement the consensus reached before.

Kissinger said both sides share concerns about global peace, progress and development. The creation of a new model of a major-country relationship shows vision and is in the interest of both, he said.

In 1972, Kissinger, US President Richard Nixon's national security adviser at the time, accompanied Nixon on his ice-breaking China visit. That trip ended 25 years of mutual silence and paved the way for the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between China and the US in 1979.

Over four decades, Kissinger has been a key envoy working to strengthen the sometimes troubled relationship. Xi last met with him in April 2013.

Xi said he looked forward to visiting the US this year, repeating remarks he made a day earlier when he greeted visiting Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust.

Beijing and Washington announced in February that Xi would pay his first state visit to the US in September. Some friction has emerged recently, particularly with US President Barack Obama's sharp criticism of China's plans for new rules on US technology companies.

Fu Mengzi, vice-president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said Xi's meeting with Kissinger sends a message that China hopes differences over specific issues do not undermine the overall relationship.

Frictions are inevitable when the two countries move closer, Fu said, and Beijing wants to make its stances clear through various channels, including the meeting with Kissinger, who enjoys influence in Washington.

Kissinger's visit coincided with Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli's meeting with former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in Beijing on Tuesday.

The two countries have strengthened cooperation in various areas such as politics, trade and environmental protection in recent years. Such work has laid a good foundation for building a stronger relationship between the two big powers, Zhang said.


Hot Topics