tv Charlie Rose PBS January 20, 2011 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
>> charlie: welcome to our program. as president obama welcomes president hu jintao from chie now for dinner we talked to henry kissinger who 40 years ago went to china and changed the relationship. he speaks this evening about the relationship today and in the future. >> one should shouldn't protect the trade line in which china is dominant. they have a major power with its own big problems. there's no reason why we should not remain in a position of equality in some areas, superiority, maybe not. so i don't accept this. but we will no longer be as
dominant as we were right after world war ii when we were the only functioning maintained country. and we have to adjust our understanding of the world into a world in which there are other countries that are capable of asserting their interests, not just because they submit to our leadership but they can make us adjust some of the things. >> charlie: a program note. we had promoted a conversation with joe schultz the former secretary of state. that program will be seen next week. tonight kissinger for the hour.
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>> charlie: we're in washington this evening for coverage of chinese president hu jintao's visit to the united states. the chinese president had a full day in washington. it included various bilateral meetings, a forum with business leaders and a dinner at the whitehouse. in their remarks today president obama and the chinese president talked about the significance of the relationship. >> there has to be a level playing field for american companies competing in china. the trade has to be fair. so i welcome to this commitment that american companies will not be discriminated against when they compete for chinese government procurement contracts. i appreciate his willingness to take new steps to combat the theft of intellectual property. >> we're in the united states and other countries to effectively address global challenges such as meeting the
climate challenge, terrorism, trust national crime, energy and resource security, food security, public health security and serious natural disasters so as to forge a bright future for the world. i stated to the president that china is firmly committed to the path of peaceful development and a win/win strategy of opening up. china is a friend and partner of all countries and china's development is an opportunity for the world. >> china is at a different change of development than we are. we come from very different cultures with very different histories. but as i've said before and i repeat it to president hu, we have some core views as americans about the universal ally of certain rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion,
freedom of assembly that we think are very important. and that transcend cultures. i have been very candid with president hu about these issues. >> china recognizes and also respects the universality of human rights and at the same time we do believe that we also need to take into account the different national circumstances when it comes to the universal value of human rights. china is a developing country with a huge population and also developing country in a crucial stage of reform. in this context, china faces many challenges in economic and social development. and a lot still needs to be done in china in terms of human rights. >> the r and b is undervalued. the chinese government has intervened very forcefully in
the markets. they've spent $200 billion just recently and that's an indication of the degree to which it's still undervalued. president hu has indicated he's committed to moving towards a market-based system and there has been movement but it's not as fast as we want. >> we need to respect and accommodate each other's interests and concerns. i'm convinced that as long as our two sides continue to act in this spirit and as long as we continue to work together with other countries concerns, we will be able to engage in cooperation in an even broader range of areas to the benefit of world peace and development. >> since president hu last visited the whitehouse in 2006 china's role in the world has grown. it passed japan as the second world's largest economy. china's growing economic powers made it assertive and some assay
aggressive on the world stage. at the same time its leaders are focused on the challenges of its internal growth and its political stability. this week we bring you a wide range of voices about what all of this means. with me here in washington tonight is henry kissinger. he has a lifetime of experiences with china. he led president nixon's open thing to china and has been there more than 80 times. in fact in 2011, it is the 40th anniversary of that visit so i'm especially pleased to have him on this program. welcome. you said president hu jintao is good for u.s. china relations. tell me what that blue print might be, ought to be. >> when i came to china on the first visit, when the communication was completed,
jintao said to me this will shake the world. because we had been antagonists for 25 years. and it was the alliances for china which had been with the soviet union. now we have a different problem. the problem isn't to shake the world, the problem is to build the world in which in a paradoxical way both china and the united states face the same problem. from a different standpoint. americans think our values are relevant to the rest of the world. and there are many questions that we have a duty to spread our values throughout the rest of the world. the chinese don't spread spread
their values. you can't be a chinese but they think they're universal and unique. so here are two of the most powerful countries in world in which there are a lot of problems that can be dealt with on a global basis. so we have to do it together in some fashion. which is not the operating style of our societies. so that's what we have, what this visit can start. and if both countries recognize which i think they're beginning to, are recognizing, what their real task is, that it isn't just to solve the immediate day to day tensions but you have some vision and my instinct is that both the obama administration and the hu jintao government have recognized this now, how well they could do it, how
quickly. >> charlie: so you're saying you believe both governments would like to see it happen. >> yes. but i also believe and we both know that in america. not everybody has that view. and in china it now appears that not everybody has that view. >> charlie: in fact you have said elites in both places would like to see more confrontation and less cooperation. >> certainly more confrontation, right. >> charlie: and why? >> each side has its own view. on the american side it's the chinese can't be trusted, they want world domination. they are taking advantage of us in technology and also that the chinese in the last year have compacted themselves in a more assertive way that we have been.
the chinese belief is that chinese have suffered a century of humiliation and now it's their turn to demonstrate at least equality. then there are people in china who believe that the west, the united states is now in a uniquely vulnerable position. and so you better grab the gains you can get now rather than wait until it evolves. but the fact seems to be based on the speeches that hu jintao gave and his top adviser made a very major statement. that at least the governing group in china today recognizes that the long term cooperation is important. and that it's also the evolution that the obama administration is under going. it's from that point of view but
they're both germans. >> charlie: they me we want to restrain them or not. >> the chinese pride themselves on connecting the dots. so there can be situations when the united states has glorified things. at the same time they are not bothered with the design at all but very domestic pressures have come together. like seek the dalai lama and objections to the currency all within a month. so chinese say well it's obviously part of the design. that's why they believe in china. and someone the other day told me when president obama went to asia last year, he made a speech
or a statement saying we are going to asia. now you and i know that it was done with sort of a standard campaign speech. and also it was something that was said to the europeans where they believed that europeans had felt neglected. but the ancients didn't fell neglected or they didn't know we left. when they say we returned a number of seemly people in china took this is a challenge. that we were coming back to confront them. which wasn't the intention at all. but this is how miss understandings can arise. >> charlie: is this an opportunity and can you accomplish this in a washington state visit where these two people hu jintao barack obama
does it better so you can -- >> no you can't do it in a one day visit. when nixon went to china he went five days and he spent six hours a day talking. but what you can do and what we have done is to convey the intention and the seriousness of the intention and to begin the process. and thereby can give instructions each to their system that that's how they want the work to be done. but if it isn't followed inform either way it will evaporate. so the big task, the chinese more or less automatically in their system follow things. we can fragment ourselves more
and do specific issues so that the challenge for president obama, i'm quite confident that he and his security advisers and secretary of state are aware, realize that some consistent confrontation needs to be done and not just on the day-to-day issues but in the direction we want to go. >> charlie: you have watched the chinese for 40 years but you also watched them over the last year, 18 months or two years, since the economic collapse. have you watched them change? have they become more confident, they have become more aggressive? >> they've become more assertive rather than aggressive. the impact of our economic crises in china was both
practical and above all psychological. that we had a different approach to policy-making than they. they had learned that over a period of decades. and they had sort of adjusted their thinking to that. but there was a general belief that in the field of economics, especially with the management of economics, we knew what we were doing. and they can learn from us. and so when we had this huge crises, not only were they disillusioned in that belief but a lot of policy people who had sent individuals over here to be instructed and so forth, with some egg on their face. so that was one. secondly, immediately after our crises began and their exports began to decline, they had a
sudden big unemployment crises. and they had no social welfare system. it happened fortunately for them closer to the chinese new year when a lot of people are going home. most people go home, which meant in practice that about 50 million people went home. and they weren't permitted to return. they are used to the social network of the interior of the country. and then they very decided to move their economy and employment came back. but they didn't know that when the crises started. so this was a shock so they want to make themselves from that point of view independent. but no doubt we have lost some credibility where we now come to be advisable to do with currency. >> charlie: in terms of goal
economics and financial markets and currency. >> then the next step was the dominant view was the statement hide your prideness, don't leave away developments and a number of slogans. >> charlie: this was the dominant view up until ... >> until this economic crises. so now there is a school of thought things are more assertive and gain what you are entitled to. but at this moment it looks to me as if hu jintao and his associates are going to go back to the original approach which is bide your time with
leadership and so forth. it's not all that different. the difference is timing with the other one. but what it gives us a chance is for two things. one, to restore our own situation so that there will never be a temptation to use the relative advantage as existed previously. and secondly and more importantly, to develop a pattern of cooperation between our two societies. so that at the end of that period, having bide their time for development instead of confrontation. >> charlie: they want to hid their light under that idea. >> this is a society that is uninterrupted for 4,000 years. let's just start with 2000 years where they became unified.
for 1800 of these 2000 years they were the richest society in the world. the best organized in the world. there was only one gap of about 150 years where they fell apart. so the natural instinct of chinese is to think they are the middle kingdom. when i first came to china and i didn't know much about china, the courtly way in which communist leaders behaved, and if you looked at the way the seating arrangement were about the same as you saw in pictures of the imperial court, the dna of the chinese. so they will never be subordinate and they shouldn't
be subordinate. and as they are richer and stronger, they will insist on that world. but i do believe that it's a significant part of the current leadership has understood this, that if in conflict with the united states, what does the victor get. there's a lot of talk about britain and germany prior to world war i. and you can analyze it forever. but you cannot doubt this question. which leader at the beginning of world war i would not have recoiled if he had known what the world looked like in 1918. so what comes out of this american conflict. there is no totally impossible. we can exhaust each other.
and after all the most consistent american foreign policy has been the opening to china several times now presidents have come in, went down a different road. china effective the last two years of more aggressive behavior. but now we have had two major statements, one by hu jintao and his knew interviews. the other, that long statement by -- that just don't say they're going to get along but explain why it is in the chinese interest. it could still fall apart. but i think it's really would be unfortunate for the world if the united states were conceived to be soviet union in the united
states in cold war battle. it would affect the internal structure of every country. >> charlie: that's exactly what hu jintao continues to say. this is not a zero sum game if we win you lose. that's not the reality how we see the relationship. >> nobody can win in an absolute since. >> charlie: they have it looks like a strong plan to increase the chinese presence. >> if china systematically started with security we would respond and then we would be in cold war situation. so it requires wisdom on both sides. on the other hand, they're entitled to attempt to exploit their economic forgetful so it's a narrow line in which both sides have to move.
we mustn't, neither side wants to become so weak or relatively so weak where one side is reactive and one has to respond to it. >> charlie: we have to recognize asia is a power and united states has had and has today very good relationships with countries that have some reservations about chinese intentions. >> it's absolutely essential that america is accepted and recognized as an asian country. i would put it more in the format of an asian country that the pacific, we've gotten used to thinking of the atlantic community. nobody questions it. so we have to think of the pacific community or whatever you want to call it.
the united states will maintain and should maintain good relations in southeast asia, india, indonesia and of course we have alliances with japan and korea. >> charlie: developing relationship with vietnam. >> right. vietnam is a good example. we have to remember that there is a conflict between vietnam and china. and we should have good relations with vietnam. but it shouldn't look as if we are encouraging a military-type of, a military alliance-type. we have our interests with the ironic. if we certainly turned around 180 degrees and made vietnam the
keystone of the anti-chinese strategy. >> charlie: but do you fear or do you believe that's part of what the administration has done by either its speeches or its actions? >> no. i have great respect for hillary. i thought that, and i agreed with the substance of her speech. i will probably not have recommended to do it. that was the speech in which he talked about freedom. and that really had two aspects. there's the issue of freedom of navigation and there's the issue of the islands many which are just drops of rock. and we lump those two together as one issue. i think we should separate them. who controls these islands.
it's an interesting issue but unless somebody uses force, it's not one in which we have to be engaged on a day-to-day basis. freedom of navigation in the south seas, that however is an important principle which we cannot delegate to another country. >> charlie: do you think they respect that, the chinese, today? >> i think they would respect it in the abstract but they will probably define it somewhat differently. and that's one of the issues. we cannot agree to being -- if they tried to use the ocean to get to a piece of landing joining, then we will have a different view and that will lead to difficulties. but i think if we can separate
who possesses what island from the accepted principles of freedom of navigation, i think we should be able to find a solution. >> charlie: the united states should not be alarm that they are building up their navy as fast as they can with the number of ships and the size of the ship. >> as fast as they can. it depends how far that is. if they began to contest the american. maybe in every part of the world, that would be a problem. but both sides have an obligation. this is true wherever you are. if you try to get absolute security, you create absolute insecurity for everybody else. so the necessity in designing strategy is to design it in such a way that you feel secured
against most reasonable. like don't try to struggle the important. the dialogue that secretary gates and also the president have should be conducted on those principles. the mere fact that they're building up military force to some extent, that's going to be a fact of life. they picture each other. that's what has to be done with. >> charlie: is it a fact of life that in the next 25 years, china will become the most powerful economy and the most powerful country in the world? >> i wouldn't say the most powerful. i would say chinese will become more powerful than it is today. once they start developing, they are groog -- growing at the ra% a year, no country has ever done that. they have solved most of their
internal and economic short term problems but here's a country whose coast is highly developed and its interior is as backward as any. the coast is as developed in any part of the world. the interior is as backward. they tried to move populations into the interior hu jintao talks about that. that's a to stupedbous. they have themselves stated they have to ache -- take into accoe fact that the industrialization created new centers of power that have participated in the political process. all of this.
and then they will have a huge demographic problem. starting in 2030. with a one child family. part of the society that has to be taken care of by the working part impedes more rapidly in china than i think in any other part of the world. so one shouldn't tra ject a straight line in which indemnify know -- china is extraordinarily giant. if we do our domestic right, there is no reason why we should not remain in a position of equality in some areas, superiority in some areas, maybe not. i don't accept this. the we will no longer be as
dominant as we were right after world war ii when we were the only functioning major industrial country. and we have to adjust our understanding of the world into a world in which there are other countries that are capable of asserting their interest, not just because they submit to our leadership but because they can make us adjust some of our things. that is a beautiful statement. >> charlie: to recognize that. >> there's no reason to panic. that's how most nations have lived through history. and it still would leave us as one of the most powerful countries in the world. in many categories maybe the most powerful. but we cannot insist that we're the only powerful country. >> charlie: but we're not.
the president makes speeches all the time and he talks about recognizing. >> i have no big quarrel, i have no quarrel with what the administration is doing. >> charlie: you don't. on foreign policy. >> on this aspect of foreign policy, no. >> charlie: with respect to china and a recognition of the growing relevance of asia, this president has been? >> i think the president started with too simple interpretation what america could do and what difference one president can make. but on his perception on china policy as i understand it, i find it compatible with what i've described here. >> wouldn't it be in america's
strategic interest to make relationships and stronger bonds with india specifically. >> i think it is absolutely essential and important for america to have close and cooperative relationships with india. >> charlie: and in no way does that threaten or contain or is it driven by fear of china. >> that would be unreal to say that there's no fear of china. i mean, china, india. china and aspects of china worry that some elements of india want to draw tibet into the indian sphere because it has been an historic experience with china with respect to the british empire. and there are indians who think
that china is trying to contain them. to some extent that's true. i'm not talking about the american. india but its existence, it's an element of containment of china because of its reality. not because we invent it, not because we want to contain it, it's there. so if china takes the position which i don't think it is, that they cannot be contained in some way by india, that mean india has to be impudent forever. as far as america is concerned, we should not build our relationship with india on the proposition that this is a way for us to diminish china. we have a lot of positive agents
with india. there is no organic reason. i mean there are strategies of central asia there were appropriate when the british empire was contesting with russia. china wasn't very strong. in china asked us to give up our relationship with china that's not good start. >> charlie: do you think you know how china thinks. >> i think i do more than anyone about how chinese think about northern policy. there is a difference opinion in china about what this means in any given point. as there would be in the united states. so i understand what chinese, i
think i do, the actual -- one of which is americans can prove their responsibility to the international system by doing certain things. >> charlie: so you're a stakeholder. >> so being in foreign policy for thousands of years. so they know they will have strong countries near them. we should not be perceived as being hidden primarily by the desire to limit them. but we are entitled. we would not shake them up if we keep our relationships in a
pattern that is compatible. it's a fine line. both they and we have to -- they will try and they are trying to diminish our exclusive domination of the international system. but if they go far as to look at how they dominated themselves, then we begin to react very strongly. and the same is true on our relationship to india. >> charlie: the army has always been a power source in china. but. but in the past it was assumed it was under the control of the party leadership and they were part of the party leadership. is that different today? >> it's strange aspect. in terms of military participation in the top
leadership group standing committee in total, it's actually much less. it's almost non-existent today. which they freed them to be more vocal. because having less of a voice -- now i have been amazed at our media discussion of the gates visit. >> charlie: and the fact that hu jintao did not know they were -- >> no. the vice president of china who will be president next year was present at the flight test. >> charlie: of the stealth fighters. why did he say it then. he turned and said is that right. >> because if you threaten
somebody, assuming it was all done. it's conceivable to me that he did not know that it was planned to fly that day. that's conceivable to me. >> charlie: it is said that the president in these conversations is going to be more vocal and stronger on questions of human rights. >> well, i'm not wild about the leaking that has been going on in preparation of the visit. i think -- >> charlie: leaking from within this administration. >> with respect to the administration. we are entitled to have a view about domestic organization of
government. and it reflects fundamental american values that we have through democracy. and we are entitle to obviously express that view. but what do we mean when we say we. if you say we advocate human rights as a preface, that's of course what president should. >> charlie: should this be stronger than they were in the beginning of the administration in pushing human rights questions in bilateral conversations. >> the question when asked, there is a certain number of things any president has to do for american domestic reasons. and for the support of american domestic constituencies. so it's appropriate for him to
do that. now when it reaches a point where it adversely affects the relationship with the government that you're dealing with, then you have to make a choice. and you have to decide to what you really gain in terms of human rights. in the country. >> charlie: changing human rights policies. >> yes. and how much you're doing for the gratification of your own constituency which is an important thing. i have believed from an exact point that in most situations as long as you want to have a continuing relationship with the government, you are at the presidential level better
working with that government. another point of view that think having -- acting on specific things. >> charlie: that would not the word i would use. the word you would use is raising questions with them about individuals. >> questions about individuals i always favor that. >> charlie: you favor that. >> yes. so the question is are you raising questions about practices. are you raising them as an expression of your own preferences. >> charlie: or your own values and your own sense. >> yes. but it's very hard to determine that in the exact what are you trying to achieve. if you believe that this will
make -- when i was in government, i actually from time to time rated individuals but i did not do it publicly so they did not have to yield in order to comply with my proposals. >> charlie: i'm not even talking about public. i'm talking about private conversations one-on-one with the leadership saying -- >> absolutely you're free to do that. you should do that. i would post it a little less. >> charlie: so what about the case of their nobel laureate? should we have said privately -- let him go, take his, receive his prize. >> we could certainly have said to them that the cost to them out side of china is out of
proportion. >> charlie: yes, exactly. >> that i can think is an appropriate solution. >> charlie: that's the kind of thing even today you might have a conversation with the chinese leader and you would say you have to think about the cost of this and let me tell you what i think. >> this depends in part of the secretary of state and the relationship with them. >> charlie: american companies have been protesting that they, it's not a level playing field. and that's the reason i assume we're having all these businessmen and women, being part of these conversations with the president about countries. >> look. there is part of any family's theatre, part of it is domestic politics and part of it is what you said. there's no doubt that as china developed -- first of all the chinese did not survive four thousand years by being soft or being unaware of their own
interests. this is a strong society, very conscious of its necessities. so you shouldn't be surprised. secondly as society has developed as what they call market socialistic economy with market characteristics, they have developed entities within china that have considerable economic and some political power. so far they deal with their counterparts, they can be very rough. and brutal and like most co's look primarily at their own benefit and if they can muzzle their way into a strong position, they no doubt do it. and so our businessmen have real concerns. and they should be expressed and
sometimes certainly on intellectual property, the chinese government has not exercised a all the authority that one should have in getting it under control. so i think that part of the meeting is very important. >> charlie: clearly the currency issue is also the four front of discussions. secretary made that point a week ago in his speech here. what do you think that ought to be. >> i'm not an economist. guilty -- geithner happens to e a very good friend of mine. in fact his first job, i gave him his first job. >> charlie: you think he's done a good job as secretary of the treasury. >> i think he's done a good job. i think that it's in part this.
there is no doubt that looked as a single problem, the change in value of the chinese currency will affect their exports. that's what we want. so they will not be enthusiastic about this. and so to go into bilateral meetings with them in which we announce or which the outcome is supposed to be that they have changed their currency and therefore they have additional unemployment. >> charlie: that's their argument. their argument is if we appreciate our currency and cannot export as much as we have been, it will create unemployment in china because we do not yet have a big enough domestic market to pick up the slack. >> but therefore, charlie, i think we ought to put the issue, we ought to find some neutral
framework in to which its currency adjustment. and our contribution is x. i don't know that. and this is one thing, i said can you find a framework so that the other side doesn't have to stand up there and say we have given this you. and can answer the question of why. >> charlie: figure out a way so it doesn't look like a capitulation by the chinese to the american demands. we've got something out of the fact that they let this currency depreciate. >> in the name how far something that is also -- of something that is also a benefit to china. now i have not come up with that. i bet if tim geithner were here, you wouldn't quarrel very much with -- >> charlie: that idea.
>> -- that idea. >> charlie: i can't believe you and geithner and hillary clinton can't find something for letting them -- >> if we find a way of letting the chinese quietly adjust this at some rate and we in turn do some things they ask us to do. if we don't talk too much bit, if we just do it, then a year from now it's conceivable to me that we have an important announcement to make that this has happened. we couldn't make it and say it will happen. i think this could happen and i would be amazed if the administration wouldn't substantially believe what i just said. >> charlie: what would it take to get the chinese to be more supportive of our efforts to restrain the iranian develop
of nuclear weapons capacity. >> you can't do what i've just said of currency that's in a field in which you can give some members. and what we have not had with china when we started out, and i'm not saying this to say we did it better. we were in the fortunate position from that point of view that there were no day to day relations going on with china at all. so the only thing that we could talk about were important structural things how far -- how far -- of politics. so we talked like university professors in five or six meetings. we ought to go back to that in part to really discuss with each
other where do we think the world is going over the next three years. that this isn't just a way for the american to get control of the energy in the region and blackmail everybody else and convertly for the chinese to be acceptable to auslim world which might become victorious. which is sort of in the back of everybody's mind today. when hillary had to ask, we're talking very short term politics. now is it possible to go back to the sort of discussions, and i'm not just talking when we were in the carter administration and strategic dialogue was very
similar and it got us through the first ten years of the relationship. since then we both become, after the turn of the century, we've become great powers dealing with each other like traditional great powers. so the perspective has been -- so what we ought to do with a strategic dialogue and maybe one has to do more attractive things in the new situation, but i do believe the chinese are strategic thinkers. and the chinese are not world dominators. there's no chinese history that requires them to dominate the world.
it requires them to be treated with respect by the world. so it's impossible, i don't know. but if we could do it and then if we can make others feel part of like india, then we will have brought about a really creative period. and if you ask yourself people always say britain and germany. what if britain and germany in 1905 had known what the world would look like in 1920, what might they have modified of their behavior to each other? so just confronting a country itself doesn't get you anywhere. so this is the path we have to find. >> charlie: on that historical note, i thank you very much. it's a pleasure to have you here.
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