China poses a diplomatic challenge for the United States, said former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on Sunday.
Appearing on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS to speak about his new book On China, Kissinger said relations between China and the United States have been stable for nearly 40 years, but nonetheless, the dynamics are changing.
There are elements in China who, particularly after the financial crisis, feel that there has been a fundamental shift in the balance of power and that the international conduct of China and the results of its conduct should reflect this, Kissinger said. But one shouldn't think that all of this is America's fault, because the Chinese - we have been dominant in the last 50 years - they've been dominant in 1,800 of the last 2,000 years.
And you know, I think America is entering a world in which we are neither dominant nor can we withdraw, but we are still the most powerful country, he said. So how to conduct ourselves in such a world - it's a huge test for us. And China is the most closely approximate country in terms of power. And one with such a complex history. It's a big challenge.
When Kissinger was national security adviser in President Richard Nixon's administration Kissinger made a secret trip to meet with the Chinese; a trip that would pave the way for diplomatic relations between Washington and Communist China.
Asked whether he had any idea then that China would become the global entity that it is today, proving competition with the United States economically and technologically, Kissinger said, It would have been inconceivable. Nobody had any such perception or expectation.
Kissinger said President Barack Obama's approach to China is fundamentally correct.
What we fundamentally need with the Chinese is to come to an understanding of where we both think we are going.