- ‘It will be worse than the world wars that ruined European civilisation,’ says former secretary of state and adviser to Richard Nixon
- One side cannot dominate the other – and they have to get used to that, veteran diplomat says
will be “inevitable” and result in “a catastrophic outcome” that “will be worse than world wars” unless the countries settle their differences, according to former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger.
“We are in a difficult period now. I am confident the leaders on both sides will realise the future of the world depends on the two sides working out solutions and managing the inevitable difficulties,” he said at an event hosted by the National Committee on US China Relations in New York on Thursday.
“There is no doubt many aspects of the evolution of China are challenging to the US,” the 96-year-old said. “It never happened before that two major countries in different parts of the universe were in similar positions.”
The remarks from Kissinger – who was a diplomatic driving force behind then-US president Richard Nixon’s groundbreaking visit to China in 1972 – came as the world’s two largest economies are embroiled in a trade war that has dampened appetites for cross-border business and damaged their economic growth prospects.
US President Donald Trump began imposing tariffs on thousands of Chinese-made products in July 2018 to put pressure on Beijing to change trade practices and industrial policies his administration deemed unfair.
“There were differences at the beginning of the relationship. Nevertheless, we’ve learned to live with each other for many decades,” he said.