China defence minister tells Kissinger US caused severed ties

BEIJING (Bloomberg): China’s defence minister Li Shangfu (pic) blamed the actions of "some people” in the US for the breakdown of friendly bilateral ties in a meeting with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

"Some people in the United States have not met China halfway,” Li said Tuesday in Beijing, according to a Chinese government read out.

"The atmosphere of friendly communication has been destroyed.”

Kissinger, long viewed as an "old friend” of Beijing, told Li that "neither the US or China can afford to treat one another as an enemy,” according to the Chinese defence ministry read out. The former US diplomat hasn’t released his own account of the meeting.

China has frozen high-level military dialogue with the US after the Biden administration refused to lift sanctions imposed on the Chinese general in 2018. Beijing maintains these curbs prevented a sit down between Li and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at a security forum in Singapore earlier this year.

Kissinger’s trip coincides with a Biden administration push to stabilise diplomatic relations. US Climate envoy John Kerry is in the Chinese capital this week as part of that mission, meeting top officials and restarting environmental talks between the world’s two top polluters.

Li told Kissinger the country hopes to work with the US for a healthy and stable relationship between the two nations and their militaries, according to the readout.

Still, the US admiral in charge of the Indo-Pacific Command said Tuesday that his recent attempts to contact Chinese counterparts have been disregarded or declined, including a recent invitation to attend the annual chiefs of defense conference in Fiji next month.

Kissinger - who was a top US diplomat and national security adviser at the White House in the 1970s - has regularly met with senior Beijing officials since playing a key role in normalizing ties between the US and China under President Richard Nixon.

Xie Feng, China’s ambassador to the US, visited Kissinger in May and expressed his best wishes for the former US official’s 100th birthday. President Xi Jinping welcomed him for a sit-down at the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square in 2019. The Chinese leader said he appreciated Kissinger’s "sincere feelings” and efforts to promote the development of ties with the US.

The centenarian is closely watched for his views on Asian geopolitics. His trips to the nation during the Nixon administration were credited with paving the way for the normalization of US-China relations at the time.

In June, Kissinger sounded a downbeat tone on the state of ties between Washington and Beijing, days before Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to the nation as part of a mission to reset relations. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also visited the Chinese capital this month to help resume dialogue.

Military conflict between China and Taiwan is likely if tensions continue on their current course, Kissinger said in an interview with Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait.

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China , Kissinger , Li Shangfu


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