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From left: Foreign Minister Wang Yi and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Photo:

Cold war mentality will harm US-China relations, top diplomat warns Kissinger

Four decades of gains at risk of ‘total destruction’ if tensions continue to rise

China’s senior diplomat has demanded the US stop viewing China with a cold war mentality to keep the Sino-US bilateral ties on a healthy track as tensions between the two sides continue to rise.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the comments to former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger during a meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

The meeting came a day after Wang warned US business representatives that Washington was putting four decades of gains in the Sino-US relationship at risk of “total destruction”.

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“China and the US can have competition, but they should not view others with a cold war mentality,” Wang said in a foreign ministry statement, using the term describing the rivalry between the US and former Soviet Union.

“There are some forces in the US recently frequently smearing China and creating antagonistic sentiment, which has caused serious damage to China-US relations.”

Relations between the two countries would go downward if the trend continued, and the US should take steps to ensure bilateral ties remained on a proper track, he said.

In the meeting, Wang said he appreciated Kissinger’s contribution to the development of China-US relations, and hoped he would continue to yield a positive influence.

The elder US statesman had earlier denied an American media report that he had suggested to President Donald Trump that Washington should “box in” China by working with Russia in a series of private meetings.

A transcript of an event on September 13 commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Wilson Centre’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, showed Kissinger had described the media report as a piece of “fiction.”

“I visualise China as a potential partner in the construction of a world order,” Kissinger is quoted.

“Of course, if that does not succeed, we will be in a position of conflict, but my thinking is based on the need to avoid that situation. So, our problem is not to find allies around the world with which to confront China.”

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Tensions between China and the US are running high.

Trump used his second address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday to accuse Beijing of “relentless product dumping” and other unfair practices, such as forcing foreign companies to transfer proprietary technology to local Chinese joint venture partners.

Beijing has been angered by the imposition of US tariffs on Chinese imports and Washington’s proposal to sell US$330 million worth of arms to Taiwan.

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Washington also decided last week to impose sanctions on a unit of the Chinese defence ministry and its director for buying advanced weapons from Russia.

In a move seen as retaliation, China rejected a request for US warship USS Wasp to make a port call in Hong Kong next month. The vessel is part of a group based in Sasebo in Japan and operating in the Indo-Pacific region.

China also recalled a navy commander from a visit to the US and has postponed a military dialogue between the two countries.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: US cold war mentality must stop: Beijing