Henry Kissinger Visit to the China: Behind the Stage

28.08.2023

The recent series of events in global politics have marked a significant shift in US-China relations. On June 9th, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates met with Xi Jinping at Beijing’s Diaoyutai state guest house, a historically reserved venue for senior foreign visitors. This meeting was notable as it was the first time in years that Xi Jinping had met with Western business tycoons, and during the meeting, Xi was seen wishing assistance from American business executives in improving the ties between the two nations. During the meeting with Gates, Xi emphasized the importance of the American people in shaping US-China relations, stating, “I often say the foundation of US-China relations lies with its people. I place my hopes on the American people.” According to Chinese official media, Xi has good relations with the U.S. businessmen and, in 2021, he also wrote a letter to Howard Schultz[1], the former CEO and chairman of Starbucks (SBUX), urging him to support the development of bilateral relations. Secondly, on June 19th, Antony Blinken[2] meets to the senior diplomat Way Yi and had a seven-and-a-half-hour long talk with foreign minister Qin Gang on diplomatic progress over Taiwan, trade and human rights. Wang Yi has particularized Antony Blinken the importance of Taiwan to China’s interest and the issue remained of high importance during the talks. Lastly, the so-called informal visit of a 100-year-old Henry Kissinger to visit his old friend Xi Jinping and then the replacement of the Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang with Wang Yi are the major solace incidents after the catastrophic Nancy Pelosi war slogan in August, 2022.

Henry Kissinger’s[3], an old practitioner of global politics, had a good charm with Chinese officials even after leaving the office in 1977. He remained an influential figure in the President Nixon administration, and performed high roles in normalizing relations between the U.S. and China after the Sino-Soviet split. It was the Kissinger who recognizes the potential benefits of engaging with China as a counterbalance to the Soviet Union during the Cold War following which the U.S. and China made the bases in economic and strategic cooperation. In a recent visit, Xi Jinping gave a humble gesture to Kissinger by calling him an “Old Friend” and China’s state media reported Wang Yi[4] as saying that the United States’ China Policy needs “Kissinger’s diplomatic wisdom and Nixon’s political courage”.

Afterwards, the 69 years old Wang Yi[5], a senior party leader, enjoys the same charm to the U.S. as Henry Kissinger enjoys to China. Wang Yi has long experience in Japan between 2004 to 2007 and in CPC Taiwan office from 2008 to 2013 when he was appointed as a Chinese foreign minister till 2022. He has also served as a state councilor of China from 2018 to 2023. Wang Yi has high diplomatic relations worldwide which are important for stabilizing the U.S.-China relations in the new catastrophic era. Rory Daniels[6], a senior fellow at the Center for China Analysis said “With a series of major international meetings coming up, Xi defaulted to someone who has relationships with many of his foreign counterparts. In times of uncertainty, China wants continuity and predictability in this position,”. Appointment of Wang Yi as a foreign minister again is a win-win situation for both the U.S. and China.

The visit was initially portrayed as an informal meeting between Kissinger and his old friends in China. However, recent events suggest that Kissinger may have been utilized as a political figure to help normalize US-China relations and prevent the escalation of conflicts that could potentially lead to a third world war. This is particularly significant given the increasing severity of the situation and the occurrence of various bilateral crises between the U.S. and China.

In the U.S. and Russian catastrophes, the war zone remains in Asia, however, this time the war zone being in central Europe has caused great damages to the western world after the catastrophic COVID pandemic which has greatly disturbed the world commodity market. According to the recent IMF and World Bank Food Index[7], high inflation and hunger index is so-common in every developed or developing country. Both countries are witnessing the future catastrophe in accordance with their power control, especially the U.S. which can see its devastation of firm-footed control over international politics.

History teaches us that great empires and civilizations have experienced both rise and fall over extended periods. China’s ‘no-enemy’ policy, which emphasizes peaceful coexistence with any country or bloc while avoiding isolation, has benefited China in various aspects, including both traditional and non-traditional security domains by prioritizing stability, build strong diplomatic ties, and enhance its global standing. On the other hand, the U.S., in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has sought to counterbalance the strained relations with Russia by turning towards China. This strategic move aims to restore a balance of power. But it is crucial to understand that the relationship between the US and China today is not the same as it was during the Cold War period. China’s stance towards Russia is different now compared to when it perceived the USSR as an enemy during the Cold War. Both nations must manage their relationship in a way that promotes shared interests while minimizing possible points of stress or conflict as China’s strength and influence continue to expand.

The U.S. and China practice fundamentally different economic systems: The U.S. follows a free market system, while China operates a centrally planned or socialist market economy. In March 2021, President Biden stated that there is a battle between the utility of democracies and autocracies in the 21st century[8]. This narrative initiated by Biden suggests that the real conflict in this century is between democracy and autocracy. However, it is important to remember that the true challenge of this century lies in fostering peaceful coexistence while balancing individual and communal synchronization in the civil societies using aggregate of governmental and non-governmental institutes. The U.S. may have overlooked the philosophy that an excess of democracy can lead to its demise. Presently, the U.S. faces challenges in maintaining control over its market economy, as reflected in its shift from a “protector” to a “balancer” role. Consequently, visits by top officials from both countries have become significant events as the U.S. and China strive to manage their relationship, particularly in the aftermath of the controversial Nancy Pelosi war slogan over Taiwan strait issue.

 

[1] Toh, M. (2021a). Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/14/business/starbucks-china-xi-jinping-intl-hnk/index.html

[2] The Guardian (2023). Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jun/19/antony-blinken-china-visit-meetings-talks-trip-xi-jinping-taiwan

[3] National Security Archieve (2023). Retrieved from https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/cold-war-henry-kissinger/2023-05-25/henry-kissingers-documented-legacy

[4] Bloomberg (2023). Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-07-19/us-needs-kissinger-style-wisdom-on-china-top-diplomat-says

[5] Ng, K. (2023). Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-66310350

[6] Ng, K. (2023a). Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-66310350

[7] World Bank (2023). Retrieved from https://thedocs.worldbank.org/en/doc/40ebbf38f5a6b68bfc11e5273e1405d4-0090012022/food-security-update

[8] Sanger, D. E. (2021). Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/26/us/politics/biden-china-democracy.html

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