Xi Jinping Snubs Kerry, Welcomes Kissinger

Chinese leader hails 'insightful' American
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2023 5:30 AM CDT
Kissinger Gets a Warm Welcome From Xi Jinping
In this photo released by China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, meets with Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi in Beijing, Wednesday, July 19, 2023.   (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China via AP)

Xi Jinping didn't meet John Kerry while the top US climate envoy was in China this week—but he met, and praised, an American who first came to Beijing for talks with Chinese leaders more than 50 years ago. Xi described Henry Kissinger as an "old friend" when they met Thursday at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, where Kissinger met then-Premier Zhou Enlai in 1971 for secret talks that led to Richard Nixon's visit the following year, CNN reports. The 100-year-old Kissinger, who was Nixon's secretary of state, also met Defense Minister Li Shangfu and Wang Yi, China's top diplomat, this week.

"China and the United States are once again at the crossroads of where to go, and the two sides need to make new decisions," Xi said in statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. "Looking into the future, China and the United States can achieve joint success and prosperity." The Wall Street Journal describes the warm welcome for Kissinger as part of the "two-pronged approach" Beijing has taken to repair ties with the US, moving to re-engage "on its own terms, with Americans that it regards as trustworthy." "I hope you and other insightful Americans will continue to play a constructive role in bringing US-China relations back on the right track," Xi told Kissinger, per the Journal.

Wang hailed Kissinger for his "irreplaceable role in enhancing mutual understanding between the two countries," the AP reports. "The US policy toward China requires the diplomatic wisdom like that of Kissinger and political courage like Nixon's," he said in a statement released by the Foreign Ministry. Officials say Kissinger discussed issues including the war in Ukraine and artificial intelligence. American officials have stressed that Kissinger is visiting China as a private citizen. CNN notes that unlike in his meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his delegation in June, where Xi was at the head of a table, Kissinger and Xi "were seated on the same level across a small tea table in a much more cordial setting." (More China stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.