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Kissinger, Albright: One China

By Paul Welitzkin in New York | China Daily USA | Updated: 2016-12-06 11:55
Kissinger, Albright: One China

Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger both expressed their support for the one-China policy that has guided China-US relations for many years.

The former US secretaries of state, speaking at a program hosted by the National Committee on US-China Relations at the China-US SkyClub in New York Monday night, were discussing the recent upheaval in US-China ties involving President-elect Donald Trump.

Trump revealed he took a phone call from Taiwan's leader last week. The call between Trump and Tsai Ing-wen was the first by a US president-elect or president with a Taiwanese leader since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition to Chinese mainland from Taiwan in 1979.

Trump officials attempted to down play the significance of the conversation, saying it was a "courtesy" call and not intended to show a policy shift. However, it did prompt a diplomatic protest from China.

"I have been impressed by the calm reaction of the Chinese leadership," said Kissinger. Noting that he himself has been through 10 administrations, Kissinger recalled that President Bill Clinton also tried to deviate from the established China policy at the beginning. "But in two years' time, he found that the policy reflected the common interests of both sides."

Kissinger recalled his historic trip to China in 1971, which laid the groundwork for President Richard Nixon's visit and the beginning of modern US-China relations.

"President Nixon and I talked about what would happen if Russia and China got into a conflict," Kissinger said of tensions between the mainland and the Soviet Union then. "We decided it was not in American interests if China was defeated."

Kissinger also said it was important to bring China into the world order. Albright echoed that when discussing her tenure at the State Department when China joined the World Trade Organization.

"We were determined to bring China into the system," she said, and when questioned whether China joining the WTO was a success for the US, Albright said "mostly it is".

"It's better than having a trade war," Kissinger said.

One area that both think could provide a bridge for improved relations between China and the US is the battle against terrorism.

The sharing of information in fighting and preventing terrorism provides an ideal stage for cooperation, Kissinger and Albright said.

Both also warned that a nuclear-armed North Korea could pose a threat to China and the US.

"China and Japan and every other country will feel threatened" if North Korea develops nuclear weapons, Kissinger said.

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