Biden-Xi Talks a ‘Good Beginning’ to Avoid Clash, Kissinger Says
(Bloomberg) -- A virtual summit this week between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping marked a “good beginning” for the world’s biggest economies to avoid a conflict, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said.
“They now have to be followed by concrete discussions that lead in a direction both presidents have affirmed they want to pursue,” the influential U.S. diplomat and author said via video on Wednesday at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore in a conversation with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait.
“We’re through the mountain pass, on a precipice from which you can look in both directions,” Kissinger said. “And now it depends which direction is chosen.”
His comments came shortly after Biden and Xi met for a generally positive virtual summit, agreeing to continue talking on a range of topics even as they continue to spar over issues like Taiwan.
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The renowned diplomat, who paved the way for President Richard Nixon’s historic 1972 trip to China, said the nations must move “towards a pattern in which disputes are attempted to be mitigated, and in which they realize that a victor is not possible without a risk of destroying humanity.”
“Both sides have to accept that a conflict between major technical powers of comparable capacities must not occur for the preservation of humanity,” Kissinger said.
He mentioned that the U.S. and China should find ways to cooperate on advanced technology like artificial intelligence, saying a race could lead to accidents.
“The logic of cyberwarfare is to operate at a speed which is beyond human capacity, and therefore the temptation is to build automatic responses into weapon systems,” Kissinger said. “But if you deprive these issues of any human element, then the danger that systems might make a judgment which you didn’t foresee, and the danger of an automatic conflagration, becomes very grave.”
In separate comments at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan said China and the world must work together to boost global economic growth, vowing that Beijing will continue opening up more to foreign investment at a time when more countries are raising barriers over national security concerns.
“China can not develop in isolation of the world and nor can the world develop without China,” Wang told the forum via a video link. “China will not waver in its resolve to deepen reform and expand opening up.”
The New Economy Forum is being organized by Bloomberg Media Group, a division of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.
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