Li urges cooperation in meeting with Kissinger

Updated: 2012-01-19 08:27

(China Daily)

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 Li urges cooperation in meeting with Kissinger

Vice-Premier Li Keqiang meets former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger on Tuesday at the Great Hall of The People in Beijing. Kissinger led a delegation of prominent former diplomats attending the China-US Track Two High-Level Dialogue. Ren chenming / China News Service

BEIJING - Vice-Premier Li Keqiang met former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger in Beijing on Tuesday, urging the two countries to properly settle differences in bilateral relations and promote the healthy growth of ties.

It followed Vice-President Xi Jinping's speech on Monday commemorating 40 years since US president Richard Nixon made his historic trip to China in 1972.

"Under the new circumstances, the two countries should build a cooperative partnership featuring mutual respect and benefit to strengthen trust, expand common ground and properly handle differences, in an effort to facilitate the healthy and stable growth of bilateral ties," Li told Kissinger.

Kissinger and his delegation came to Beijing for the third meeting of the China-US Track Two High-Level Dialogue, a gathering for dozens of prominent retired diplomats and officials from both countries.

In the West, track-two diplomacy refers to non-official dialogue often involving academics and think tanks.

The purpose of the dialogue is to enhance communication and educate the public on foreign policy, according to Sun Zhe, a professor on US politics at Tsinghua University.

Former Chinese state councilor Tang Jiaxuan and Kissinger led the two sides in the dialogue. The US delegation included former secretary of state George P. Shultz, former secretary of the treasury Robert Rubin and former US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Michael Mullen. These former officials have administrative experience and possess a deep understanding of China-US relations.

Compared to officials still in office, they are less strained by domestic politics and can engage in more candid conversations, according to Qu Xing, president of the China Institute of International Studies.

Since the release of the Shanghai Communique 40 years ago, the two countries have pushed forward relations despite twists and turns, Li said.

"China-US relations have become one of the most important and energetic bilateral ties in the world," Li said.

In the face of increasing interdependence among countries, Li said the two countries should achieve win-win and all-win situations through cooperation.

China and the United States are highly compatible in their cooperation, the vice-premier said, urging both sides to create a fair, equal and transparent environment, and expand cooperation in trade, investment, and alternative and clean energies.

Li also called on both countries to enhance cultural exchanges to cement mutual understanding and consolidate the social basis for bilateral friendship.

He expected the retired US officials to play a positive role in strengthening bilateral ties.

"These officials will surely brief the current administration when they return home. Besides, some US officials, like Kissinger and Shultz, who worked in think tanks, will influence public opinion through their organizations," Qu said.

The China-US Track Two High-Level Dialogue mechanism was launched in Beijing in October 2009. The previous two meetings were held in Beijing and Washington in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

China Daily-Xinhua

(China Daily 01/19/2012 page12)