By Tenzin Dedan
DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 1: Henry Kissinger, the former U.S. Secretary of State and a key figure in shaping American foreign policy, particularly with China has died at the age of 100 at his residence in Connecticut. Known for his commitment to realism in international relations, Kissinger’s influence extended beyond his lifetime, particularly in normalizing relations between the United States and China.
As the U.S. National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, Kissinger played a crucial role in implementing the policy of détente, seeking to soften relations with both the Soviet Union and China. His efforts resulted in historic diplomatic breakthroughs establishing normalized relations between the U.S. and China.
Kissinger’s stance on Tibet was notable, acknowledging that Tibet was historically a part of China. He recognized that the issue was complex and cautioned against oversimplification, emphasizing the sensitivities surrounding Tibet.
However, former Tibetan MP Tenzin Khedup who served for three terms in the Tibetan parliament in Exile opined that Kissinger’s role in initiating China with the world was not without consequences. He told Phayul that Kissenger was “too accommodating to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and neglecting the interests and values of the United States and its allies. He underestimated China’s ambition and expansionism, and believed that China was not seeking world domination or challenging the US-led international order. He also overestimated the benefits of engaging China economically and diplomatically, and assumed that China would become more cooperative and moderate as it grew stronger and richer.”
“He cut off all US Government aid to the Tibetan exiles at Beijing’s insistence,” he further said.
Beyond his diplomatic career, Kissinger’s ties with China continued, with the Walt Disney Company seeking his advice on navigating relations with the country. This move followed China’s warning to Disney over the release of the film “Kundun,” depicting the Dalai Lama’s escape to India under Chinese Communism, impacting Disney’s expansion in China.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, expressed gratitude for Kissinger’s contributions during a press briefing, stating, “The Chinese people will remember Dr. Kissinger’s sincere devotion and important contributions to China-US relations.”
Kissinger’s death was also mourned on Chinese social media Thursday, where his passing became the top trending topic on the heavily moderated microblogging site Weibo with more than 400 million views.