Henry Kissinger, former U.S. secretary of state (Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg News)

Kissinger ‘Fairly Optimistic’ China, U.S. Can Avoid Catastrophe

(Bloomberg) -- Henry Kissinger, the 95-year-old foreign policy guru to world leaders, said he was “fairly optimistic” the U.S. and China could avoid a wider conflict that would devastate the current world order.

Speaking at Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum in Singapore on Tuesday, Kissinger said that U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators should avoid getting bogged down in details and first explain to each other what objectives they are seeking to achieve, and what concessions they can and cannot make.

“If the world order becomes defined by continuous conflict between the U.S. and China, sooner or later it risks getting out of control,” said Kissinger, who brokered the U.S. rapprochement with China as former president Richard Nixon’s secretary of state more than four decades ago and has advised U.S. presidents ever since.

“Some disagreements are inevitable but the objective needs to be that both countries recognize that a fundamental conflict between them will destroy hope for the world order,” he said. “I think that that objective can be achieved and I am in fact fairly optimistic that it will be achieved.”

Americans need to learn that not every crisis is caused by ill will, while China must evolve beyond the model of being the leading great power of Asia, Kissinger said.

“The world would be in terrible shape” if the U.S. and China allowed commercial issues to evolve into strategic conflict, he said, adding: “I think we have high incentives to avoid catastrophe.”

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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