Kissinger says Taiwan cannot be central to US-China negotiations

Kissinger served as Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under Republican Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford in the 1970s.

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Veteran US diplomat Henry Kissinger said on Monday that Washington and Beijing should seek to avoid placing Taiwan at the center of their strained diplomatic relations, adding that the need for the world’s two largest economies to avoid direct confrontation was in the interest of world peace.

His comments come shortly after President Joe Biden said the United States would be ready to intervene militarily if China invaded the democratic, self-governing island.

Biden’s remarks appeared to mark a break in Washington’s deliberate and longstanding tradition of “strategic ambiguity” on Taiwan. The White House quickly sought to downplay the comments, saying they did not reflect a change in policy.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in a rare spring version of Davos, Kissinger said: “The United States should not develop by subterfuge or by a gradual process some sort of ‘two-China’ solution, but that China will continue to exercise the patience that has been exercised thus far.”

“Direct confrontation should be avoided and Taiwan cannot be at the heart of negotiations because it is between China and the United States.

Earlier Monday, Biden told reporters at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida that the United States would be ready to defend Taiwan if Beijing invaded.

The comments prompted a backlash from China’s Foreign Ministry, which expressed “strong displeasure and firm opposition” to the remarks.

As part of the “one China” policy, a cornerstone of diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing, the United States diplomatically recognizes China’s position that there is only one Chinese government.

However, the United States also has a “robust unofficial” relationship with Taiwan, and Washington provides military equipment to the island under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979. This act does not require the United States to intervene militarily to defend Taiwan if China invades, but makes it a policy to ensure that the island has the resources to defend itself and to deter Beijing from unilaterally unifying the country. Isle.

China claims Taiwan is its own territory and is pressuring the democratic island to accept its rule.

“Important for global peace”

“For the core of the negotiations, it is important that the United States and China discuss principles that affect the adversarial relationship that allow at least some room for cooperative efforts,” Kissinger said.

“It is important for the overall peace of the world that the United States and China ease their contentious relationship,” he added.

Kissinger, who turns 99 on Friday, served as secretary of state and national security adviser under Republican presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford in the 1970s.

A controversial and polarizing political figure, Kissinger influenced some of the most significant shifts in American foreign policy during his tenure. This included orchestrating US-China relations.

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Lynn A. Saleh