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China leans on Kissinger’s goodwill, but influence ‘weak’, expert says

China has bet on positive press from its meeting with former US national security adviser and secretary of state Henry Kissinger, hoping to use the face-to-face to restore positive momentum after strained relations with the US.

“China reaching out to Kissinger is really a sign of desperation,” Gordon Chang, a senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute and a China expert, told Fox News Digital.

Kissinger did not represent the United States in his visit to Beijing or in a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi until late last year.

Wang spoke glowingly of Kissinger, who was instrumental in normalizing relations between the US and China during the Nixon and Ford administrations. Kissinger, now 100 years old, has been visiting China regularly since leaving office.

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Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, left, meets with top Chinese Communist Party diplomat Wang Yi in Beijing on July 19, 2023. Amid a sharp downturn in relations with the United States, China has looked to the meeting with Kissinger to restore positive momentum. (Zhai Jianlan/Xinhua via AP)

Wang called Kissinger “an old friend” and praised his “irreplaceable role” in promoting relations between the two countries.

“US policies toward China require Kissinger-style diplomatic wisdom and Nixon-style political courage,” Wang said, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Chang argued that Kissinger saw his influence as “weak” and his ability to influence US policymaking as “very little”.

“That’s not to say it doesn’t have an effect, but to say it’s definitely a shadow of itself,” Chang said.

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Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger speaks during a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (not pictured) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 22, 2019. (Reuters/Jason Lee/Pool/File)

“I don’t see any positive results,” he continued. “For Kissinger to have influence, there will need to be a positive movement from the Chinese, so unless they’re willing to do that, I don’t think Kissinger is really going to move things much.”

China and the US have seen relations deteriorate over the past year, particularly as each has taken different sides of the attack on Ukraine: Beijing has backed Russia and used the conflict as an attempt to shift international dynamics further east.

Chinese officials also reacted with anger last year when then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, which Beijing claims is a Chinese territory.

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US Special Presidential Envoy on Climate Change John Kerry and Chinese top diplomat Wang Yi shake hands before meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on July 18, 2023. (Reuters/Florence Lowe/Pool)

Beijing canceled a visit by a top European diplomat this month amid ongoing disagreements over a number of issues, including the EU’s intention to start sourcing materials from outside China – but officials said they did not want to “double down” on the world’s second-largest economy.

Wang used the meeting with Kissinger to emphasize that the United States must halt reform efforts in China and that it is impossible to contain, control or transform the country, which officials accuse Washington of trying to orchestrate through trade and technology policies.

Chang argued that if China decided to raise the issue, it means “they are deeply concerned about it.”

“When you start looking at the dynamics of the region, it’s not just the United States,” Chang said. “It’s in the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, Australia — all these countries are coming to the same conclusion that China is dangerous.”

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“They don’t all share exactly the same ideas, but they’re all more or less moving in them,” he added. “They’re all moving in the same direction, and China is worried about that.”

Kissinger told Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu a day earlier that their countries should “eliminate misunderstandings, live together peacefully and avoid confrontation.”

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Source by [Fox News]



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