BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday extended condolences over the passing of Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State and an important figure in the icebreaking between China and the US in 1972, at the age of 100.
According to the Xinhua News Agency, Xi sent a message of condolences to US President Joe Biden over the death of Kissinger. On behalf of the Chinese government and people, and in his own name, Xi extended profound condolences and expressed sincere sympathy to Kissinger’s family.
In his message, Xi said Kissinger was a world-renowned strategist and an old friend and good friend of the Chinese people. Half a century ago, with an outstanding strategic vision, Kissinger made historic contributions to the normalization of China-US relations, which has not only benefited the two countries, but also changed the world, Xi said.
Kissinger had made it his lifelong pursuit to promote the development of China-US relations and enhance the friendship between the two peoples, and his name will always be associated with China-US relations, Xi said.
Noting that Kissinger will always be remembered and missed by the Chinese people, Xi said that China is ready to work with the United States to carry forward the cause of friendship between the two peoples and promote the sound and steady development of China-US relations, so as to benefit the two peoples and make due contribution to world peace and development, Xinhua reported.
Kissinger Associates, Inc, a political consulting firm he founded, confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that Kissinger passed away at home in Connecticut.
As National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State during the Nixon and Ford Administrations, Dr. Kissinger “played central roles in the opening to China, negotiating the end of the Yom Kippur War in the Middle East, and helping to bring America’s role in the Vietnam War to a close,” said the statement.
The word “China” appeared 11 times in the statement, fully demonstrating how Kissinger’s career became intertwined with the interactions between the world’s two major powers, which have gone through ups and downs.
Kissinger made a secret China trip in 1971 which laid the foundation for president Nixon’s historic China visit the following year,and the eventual normalization of China-US relations.
Since then, the Germany-born American diplomat visited China more than 100 times, the latest in July 2023. Xi told Kissinger then that “We never forget our old friends, nor your historic contributions to promoting the growth of China-US relations and enhancing friendship between the two peoples.”
Xie Feng, Chinese Ambassador to the US, on Thursday wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that Kissinger’s death is “a tremendous loss for both our countries and the world. The history will remember what the centenarian had contributed to China-US relations, and he will always remain alive in the hearts of the Chinese people as a most valued old friend.”
Hua Chunying, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, wrote on X that “His historic efforts to open & build constructive relations with China will always be remembered. His vision & wisdom will continue to inspire people across the Pacific & around the world.”
As a familiar name to many Chinese people, Kissinger’s death also became a hot topic of discussion on Chinese social media on Thursday. Many Chinese people mourned the loss of a wise mind, and expressed their appreciation for his contribution to China-US relations, which are considered the most important relationship in the current world.