Beijing: The emerging competition between US and China should not be allowed to transform into a zero-sum-game pushing other nations, especially those in Asia to take sides, former secretary of state Henry Kissinger has said.
The key to good relations, Kissinger stresses, is for both countries to protect each other`s key interests and neither should think their own views must always prevail. "It`s important not to transform this into a zero-sum-game. It`s important that both sides understand what needs to be done to keep the process alive and dynamic," the 89-year-old diplomat, whose ping-pong diplomacy of the 1970s revived US-China ties, told state-run China Daily.
"I don`t think the two countries can compete with each other," Kissinger said.
Instead, "China and the United States should cooperate closer. They should have intense dialogues. We have to watch out together for unexpected developments internationally," he said.
"Consensus may prove difficult, but confrontation on these issues is self-defeating", he said.
"It`s natural that strong leaders are needed to implement this (process). But without it, if one looks at the consequences of stress between China and the US, all the other countries in the world, especially in Asia, will be forced to choose. A general progress will become more and more difficult," he said.
His comments came as Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping widely expected to succeed President Hu Jintao next year, heads for Washington next month to make a case for, what Chinese officials say is more pragmatic bilateral ties.
Kissinger commands a lot of respect in China as it was his diplomacy that led to epoch making summit meeting between the then US President, Richard Nixon and Chinese Communist leader, Mao Zedong in 1972.
The summit broke the ice between the two countries, breathed new dynamism in sagging Chinese economy with great deal of US investments and know-how propelling China`s economic rise. China is concerned over US building up strong alliance with India, Japan, Australia and ASEAN countries in its neighbourhood and looks to Kissinger to rekindle the 1972 spirit.
There was no need for a cold-war like confrontation between the two countries as they try to counter each other’s influence around the world, Kissinger said apparently referring to the South China Sea (SCS) dispute.
China asserts that the entire SCS belongs to it.
Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan contest China`s claim.
Kissinger is of the view that the US and China cannot compete and confront with each other and should engage in intense dialogues.
"The reality is totally different. When it happened in the past it was when one had to win and the other had to lose. But today, that doesn`t have to be true. With the United States and China, I think both will lose".
"If there is a diplomatic struggle between China and the US, it would divide the world, and every country will have to choose sides. So I don`t think the old rules will apply," he said.