'We see eye to eye on nuke danger'

By Zhu Zhe (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-10-11 07:56

China and the United States have an identical interpretation of the danger of nuclear weapons and should co-operate to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said yesterday.

Kissinger made the remark in reply to a student's question about the nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) after he made a speech at Peking University in Beijing.

Kissinger said the spread of weapons of mass destruction has become an "overwhelming problem" because such weapons threaten millions of people's lives.

"China and the United States have an identical interpretation of the danger," he said. "Although we might have small differences in attitude, the basic direction is the same."

Kissinger, 83, recalled that when he was the secretary of state, few countries possessed nuclear weapons, but now about 20 to 30 countries have the ability to produce them.

"It's impossible to calculate the consequence," he said.

He said China, the most populous and biggest developing country in the world, and the United States, the most developed country, should work together in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction to safeguard world peace.

He said relations between the two countries are crucial to the entire international community.

Kissinger also spoke highly of the meeting between Chinese President Hu Jintao and Japan's new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, on Sunday.

He described the meeting as "positive" and "very important" to both countries.

Kissinger's speech on international relations as well as the question-and-answer portion received a warm response from the audience.

Yao Yao, a graduate from the School of International Studies under Peking University, who raised the question of the DPRK's nuclear test, said Kissinger's reply was fair and objective.

"Unlike some US diplomats who often comment from the US angle, Dr Kissinger considers the common interests of the entire international community," he said.

Kissinger also received an honorary doctorate degree from Peking University the highest the university can bestow for his reputation as an outstanding diplomat and an old friend of China.

Xu Zhihong, president of Peking University, recalled Kissinger's crucial role in the normalization of the Sino-US relationship in the early 1970s. He said Kissinger's reputation as well as his academic performance earned himself the degree.

On the invitation of the People's Institute of Foreign Affairs, Kissinger is in Beijing to visit some of his Chinese friends. He will leave on Friday.