Henry Kissinger was the former US Secretary of State under Richard Nixon. He spoke to a group of people in China believing the US and China are in the path of a Cold War. If left unattended, the trade war between these two countries could escalate out of control and lead to a conflict worse than WWI.
Shutterstock / Henry Kissinger
In 1971, Kissinger flew to Beijing, China to begin trade talks and gave his opinion regarding the relations between the US and China at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum.
Kissinger said WWI took place because of a minor crisis but the weapons of today are so much more powerful. He went on to say that if the conflict continues out of control, it could be worse than it was in Europe.
In his view, it is extremely important that during this time of relative tension, there should be an explicit effort to understand the political causes and form a commitment by both sides to overcome it. He said it's not too late as they are still in the “foothills of a Cold War”, according to Bloomberg.
Recently, China has some issues over Washington and Congress' passage of the bill focused on protecting human rights in Hong Kong while pro-democracy riots have broken out in the city. The US has firmly criticized the detention of Muslims in the Xinjiang region while both nations are locked in competition in the South China Sea.
Kissinger, who is now 96, made several comments while China and the US try to reach a trade agreement. Approximately 18 months ago, President Trump started imposing tariffs on Chinese exports, citing trade and technology policies that violate Beijing's market-opening comments as unfair.
Since that time, tariffs have risen on both sides of each country's exports in billions of dollars. This has taken a huge toll on farmers and manufacturers. New tariffs are scheduled to take place on December 15 around $160 billion of Chinese exports to the US, including smartphones, laptops, and other goods.
Kissinger said he hopes the trade negotiations will be successful and has his total support but it's only the beginning of these political discussions that will hopefully continue.
Trump announced that he was looking forward to signing a preliminary agreement with the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, at an economic summit in Chile that was to take place but ended out being canceled due to protests. At this time, it's really uncertain if the two leaders will sign a deal.
Chinese Vice President Wang Oishan, gave a speech at the beginning of the forum asking for better relations between both world leaders.
Without a doubt, the Chinese people definitely choose peace over war and we should abandon the zero-sum thinking withe a cold war mentality.