Chinese President Xi Jinping met with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at The Great Hall of the People Friday to discuss what everyone is still talking about: President-elect Donald Trump.
The former Secretary is known for paving the road for Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972. That moment opened dialogue at a time when relations were tense and uncertain. Fast forward to 2016, and the countries are again at those crossroads.
Trump rose to victory on a heated campaign where China was one of his many targets. He accused Beijing of manipulating currency and threatened to impose a 45% import tariff on the country. But beyond handling the business relations between the world’s two largest economies, the billionaire real-estate mogul will also have to navigate the diplomatic waters of China’s ambitions in the South China Sea.
Nonetheless, Xi expressed to Kissinger that he hopes the two nations can move forward and strengthen relations.
“The presidential election has taken place in the United States and we are now in the key moment. We, on the Chinese side, are watching the situation very closely. Now it is in the transition period,” Xi told Kissinger in front of a group of reporters.
“Overall, we hope to see the China-US relationship moving ahead in a sustained and stable manner.”
As for Trump’s threats on China, Kissinger believes not much will come out of it. In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Kissinger said: “One should not insist on nailing him into positions that he had taken in the campaign, of which he doesn’t insist,” Kissinger said in the interview. “If he insists on them, then of course … disagreements will become expressed.”
Nonetheless, Kissinger expressed admiration for the president-elect, whom he recently met in New York. He called him the “most unique” president-elect in his lifetime, who had “no obligation to any particular group because he has become president based on his own strategy”.