load_file(“/includes/top.html”);load_file(“/includes/navmenu.html”);HOMEOPINIONUS should heed Kissinger’s warning on tiesBy Wang Zaibang Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/27 18:38:40load_file(“/includes/article_shareup.html”);Henry Kissinger Photo: VCGHenry Kissinger, former assistant for national security affairs and US secretary of state, spoke at the annual Gala Dinner of the National Committee on US-China Relations on November 14 in New York City, warning a permanent conflict between Beijing and Washington would end in “a catastrophic outcome,” which “will be worse than the world wars that ruined European civilization.” The remarks received widespread attention among media, scholars and policymakers in both China and the US. Kissinger is a key figure behind the normalization of diplomatic ties between China and the US in the 1970s, and has since then devoted himself to fostering better ties between the two countries. This background should be taken into account when analyzing his latest statement. The celebrated diplomats remarks are rational because he has grasped the essence of the new changes in China-US relations – with the rapid development of Chinas comprehensive strength, the gap between China and US is narrowing fast. China has become a potential peer competitor of US in many aspects. “There is no doubt many aspects of the evolution of China are challenging to the US,” Kissinger said, adding “it never happened before that two major countries in different parts of the universe were in similar positions.”Kissingers latest remarks echo the opinion he raised on multiple occasions in recent years: Both countries have changed, so have their relations, and there is no going back. In the meantime, Kissinger is acutely aware of the horrible situation that current tensions between China and US will lead to. Contrary to the view of John Mearsheimer, reputed US international relations scholar, who believes China cannot rise peacefully and “there is obviously little room for status quo powers in a world where states are inclined to look for opportunities to gain more power,” Kissinger believes that leaders from both sides can find a way to resolve the differences and avoid catastrophic consequences. His remarks are also quite constructive, since Kissinger expressed his opinions and suggestions on China-US relations in a relatively neutral perspective. As a person who understands China much better, he has faith in Chinas peaceful development path. Therefore, he did not point a finger at China on what to do in ties with the US. He mentioned that “its no longer possible to think that one side can dominate the other” and both countries “have to get used to the fact that they have that kind of a rivalry.” His statement can be seen as a subtle reminder for US policymakers that they should not tell China what to do like they used to and they need to deal with the challenges that China might pose in a more rational way. Kissinger added, “When we started this relationship, it was a strategic one. There were differences at the beginning of the relationship. Nevertheless, weve learned to live with each other for many decades.” He was trying to say that both countries should treat bilateral relations from a strategic perspective, and should agree to disagree. In the current era, China-US relations play the most significant role for both countries diplomacy. Effective strategic management is thus needed for the bilateral relationship.The China-US strategic dialogue should be promoted. The bottom line for future relations needs to be drawn. The two sides should respect each others core interests and keep their strategic promises. The US should think carefully while trying to contain China. China has no intention to replace the US as the world leader. However, Washington sees Beijing as a threat due to its hegemonic mind-set and launched the trade war against the latter. Since China consistently follows the path of peaceful development, the key to improving bilateral relations is in the hands of the US. China needs to have a clearer vision of the characteristics and features of todays China-US relations. China needs to not only boost its confidence, but also give the US enough time to reflect on its containment of China. The US needs to mature in terms of strategy during the process. Washington might not accept Chinas rejuvenation now, however historical logic has already proved that the most practical and feasible solution to deal with major power relations is through mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and healthy competition. The author is senior researcher of Taihe Institute and former deputy director of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. 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