The best way for all of us to remember Henry Kissinger
Published: Dec 01, 2023 05:05 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Former US secretary of state and world-renowned strategist Henry Kissinger passed away on Wednesday, aged 100. He is a diplomatic legend in China-US diplomatic relations, and he holds a very special place in the bilateral ties. On his X account (formerly Twitter), Xie Feng, the Chinese ambassador to the US, called Kissinger “a most valued old friend." 

Kissinger was a world-class statesman, diplomat, and man who had a commanding view of history and the present world. And he also always forecasted the future eagerly. In a sense, Kissinger devoted his whole life to not only opening the door between China and the US but also nurturing China-US relations, taking care of this most important pair of bilateral relations in the world.

Kissinger was usually deemed the voice of rationality and practicality in China-US relations. One thing we can all learn from him was his commitment to studying history. And he wrote about history and everything he experienced as a great statesman. It gave him a lot of historical perspective before reaching any conclusion about a contemporary issue.

In that spirit, I hope politicians in Washington should also read about history. When they read history and bring a historical perspective of 100 years or 500 years to any contemporary issue we are faced with, then they may be more balanced and rational and start to appreciate China.

Mutual respect is a great asset, as Kissinger preached throughout his political life. For the American people, this spirit should continue to guide the statesmen or politicians in the US.

I do hope more US politicians will come to visit China. Kissinger paid visits to China more than 100 times. I was privileged to be his interpreter for two of these visits back in 1985 and 1987. I do want to see more members of Congress in the US visit China. And China and the US can really get their acts together to promote cooperation and be friends and partners with each other, rather than the US describing China as a rival and competitor.

China does not compete for hegemony and does not want to be the top dog in the world. China has not fired a single bullet at any country and has not been involved in any war for the past several decades. I think history will guide our strategists not to launch a war. They will promote peace and cooperation between China and the US. China and the US need to get along with each other, respect each other's differences, and also deal with these differences in a positive way. So both countries will benefit. 

This is the best way for all of us to remember Kissinger as someone who was really dedicated to promoting peace, friendship, and cooperation between China and the US.

The world is mourning Kissinger, but I don't think the story ends with his passing. His spirit lives on. His legacy will continue to guide the Chinese people and the American people when we go forward to embrace peace between our two great nations.
The author is a chair professor at Soochow University and vice president of the Center for China and Globalization. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn