US, China must limit competition to prevent conflict: Kissinger

Prez Hu is scheduled to hold extensive talks with US counterpart Obama.

Updated: Jan 16, 2011, 19:49 PM IST

Beijing: Ahead of Chinese President Hu
Jintao’s visit to Washington this week, former American
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has said US and China "must
find" ways to limit their global competition to prevent it
from spiraling into a conflict.

"If our two countries cooperate we can contribute to
solving the problems of the world. But if we quarrel then it
will make it difficult anywhere else to have progress,"
Kissinger told Chinese state run CCTV in an interview.

"So I am a great advocate for close partnership
between China and US. That is the challenge for the next
period," said the veteran US diplomat, who played a key role
in establishing close strategic ties between Washington and
Beijing in the 1970s.

His "ping-pong" diplomacy paved the way for historic
"ice breaking" visit of the then US President Richard Nixon to
China in 1972.

"But competition does not mean conflict. Competition
means we can both benefit and we must find ways to limit this
competition so that it doesn’t become conflict," Kissinger

During his visit from January 18, President Hu is
scheduled to hold extensive talks with his US counterpart
Barack Obama on wide range of global and bilateral issues,
including the current round of tensions in the Korean

They are also scheduled to discuss the growing
engagement of US in Asia to rally round a number of countries,
including India to contain China, the slow appreciation of
Yuan against dollar reaping benefits to Chinese products and
Beijing’s massive militarisation programme.

An opinion poll conducted by Chinese state media ahead
of Hu’s visit said around 90 per cent of the Chinese public
consider China-United States ties important.

The survey conducted by China Daily and the Horizon
Research Consultancy Group in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou,
from December 20 to December 30 said 54.3 per cent of the
1,443-respondents believe it is very important for China to
maintain good relations with the US.

Nearly 60 per cent of respondents think the China-US
relationship will stay stable while 23.8 per cent think it
will get better and 10 per cent think it will worsen.

The respondents think the topics most likely to be
discussed during the two leaders` meeting will be the Korean
Peninsula situation, the Taiwan issue and the bilateral trade

The survey showed that 53 per cent of interviewees
think the bilateral relations worsened in 2010, with 80.2 per
cent of them blaming the US for the deterioration.
On China-US economic and trade relations, around 70
per cent of respondents think the two nations are both
competitors and partners.

Chinese media also gave wide coverage of US Secretary,
Hillary’s candid assessment of the bilateral
relations made in her speech on Sino-US ties in Washington on
January 14 in which she said: "America and China have arrived
at a critical juncture".

"A time when the choices we make, both big and small,
will shape the trajectory of this relationship," she said.

US and China need to deal with their differences
wisely and responsibly, Clinton said, noting that "these are
the things that will determine whether our relationship
delivers on its potential in the years to come."

She said the US and China have already come "a very
long way" and have had three decades of "intense engagement"
after many years of virtually no contact with each other.

"Today, our relationship has gone global. We debate
and discuss nearly every major international issue in both
bilateral dialogues and multilateral meetings. The breadth of
our engagement will be on full display next week when
President Obama welcomes President Hu to the White House," she

Clinton reminded the Chinese leadership that three
decades of relations between the two countries is also the
period of impressive growth for China.

China`s GDP barely topped USD 100 billion in early
1970s but it is almost USD five trillion today, she said.

Trade between the US and China used to be measured in
the hundreds of millions of dollars and today, it surpasses
USD 400 billion annually, she said.

"The United States has welcomed this growth, and we
have benefited from it. Today, our economies are entwined, and
so are our futures," she underlined.