Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin met with former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger on July 3 in Shanghai, with both praising Chinese President Xi Jinping and the new team he leads, the Chinese foreign ministry said Monday.
"We have witnessed changes of the world, ups and downs of China-US relationship," said Jiang, admiring Kissinger's contribution to breaking the ice of the two countries' diplomatic relations.
Jiang added Xi is a very capable and talented leader, while Kissinger said he was impressed by Xi's will and courage. "The new leadership has put forward a series of reforms, which might confront difficulties. I believe Xi will lead China to overcome all these."
"China-US relations are at a critical historical juncture," Kissinger said. "If China and the US quarrel, the world will split; if the two cooperate, not only both sides but the whole world will benefit."
According to a blue book released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Monday, the gap between China and the US is narrowing.
The book said the two should expand the new model of major-country relationship by broadening mutual interests and respecting each other's core interests and major concerns. It also said the Asia Pacific region should be seen as a platform for cooperation, and relations should not be undermined by any contingency.
"There is no need to worry too much about the differences. As long as the two sides keep open talks, we could expect a better future," said Jiang.
"It is unavoidable for both to run into some difficulties during communications. But I think the China-US relations are making positive progress," said Kissinger.
Xi also expressed his greetings to Kissinger and his family through Jiang.
Kissinger in 1971 became the first top US official to have visited the Chinese mainland since 1949. Due to his efforts, then US president Richard Nixon paid the official visit in 1972 and the two countries published the Shanghai Communique, the base for establishing the diplomatic relations.