US President Joe Biden’s recent meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping , has helped to divert the two countries from a path of direct military conflict, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger told the American and Chinese business communities on Wednesday. The man who helped re-establish US-China ties in the 1970s also urged Washington and Beijing to continue their engagement. Kissinger, 99, who accompanied presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford to China, said there are schools of thought in America that believe China is preparing for a confrontation with the US, while in China there are groups that believe the US is trying to keep China in a secondary position. “Such suspicions and tendencies would lead to conflict. Fortunately, recently President Biden and Xi met in Bali and stated an intention to reverse this trend,” he said, in a pre-recorded video address to a Lunar New Year gala organised by the US chapter of the China General Chamber of Commerce (CGCC) in New York. “I have every confidence that the president and secretary of state [Antony Blinken] intend to move towards a relationship more compatible with peace and development in the world,” he said. The business association gave Kissinger its first lifetime achievement award. Top China, US economic officials in first face-to-face meeting in 2 years Kissinger’s speech came as strains between the world’s two largest economies – and concerns about how they may play out – have continued into the new year. He said the two countries must not just negotiate but understand the deepest responsibility that they have together. “That responsibility is that the evolution of technology and the evolution of the capacity of technological use of weapons, that these two countries have the capacity to destroy humanity,” he warned. Washington and Beijing have still to confront a wide landscape of contentious issues, from an increasingly fierce tech war and human rights allegations in Xinjiang, to their stances on Taiwan and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. US House Representative Mike Gallagher, chairman of the newly created US House select committee on China, said the two countries were now in a “new cold war”. But senior US and Chinese officials have recently started meeting again as the two world powers have sought to put a floor under their troubled relationship following the Xi-Biden summit in Indonesia in November, when they agreed to keep the lines of communication open. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He met in Switzerland on Wednesday, where the two sides agreed that Yellen would visit China soon and a reciprocal Chinese visit to the US will be arranged. The State Department confirmed on Wednesday that Blinken will travel to China next month. Blinken said last week that the Biden administration will do all it can to establish guardrails to prevent competition with Beijing from veering into conflict. Falling imports to US’ west coast suggest China decoupling under way Kurt Campbell, Biden’s coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs at the National Security Council, echoed Blinken’s remarks a day later when he said the US should speed up building “guardrails” into its ties with China in 2023. Xu Xueyuan, chargé d’affaires at the Chinese Embassy to the US, confirmed on Wednesday that Blinken is going to visit China “soon”. “We will welcome more US secretaries and more senior officials to visit China. We are also prepared to welcome more Chinese senior delegations to visit the United States,” she told business representatives at the CGCC event. Xu warned that the US “will suffer more” in the long run from its hi-tech restrictions on China, though the measures might hurt China in the short term. She encouraged the Chinese business community in the US to put more effort in to convincing American policymakers that Chinese companies can help promote the American economy and create jobs. Speaking to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, via video link on Tuesday, Kissinger also said that limited and concrete steps from both the US and China are necessary to improve ties between the world’s two largest economies. He warned that Washington and Beijing should weigh the risks of conflict between two nuclear-armed states that are also developing artificial intelligence capabilities. “Each side needs to consider for itself how the threat to human survival of the destructiveness of weapons, coupled with making them almost conscious in their application, can be dealt with,” Kissinger said. He also said both sides should avoid actions that suggest an “imminent showdown” on Taiwan and cool threatening language to create conditions for dialogue.