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Taiwan officials pay tribute to top American diplomat Kissinger on his passing

11/30/2023 01:46 PM
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Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger attends a think tank event in Washington on Nov. 16, 2015. CNA file photo
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger attends a think tank event in Washington on Nov. 16, 2015. CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 30 (CNA) Taiwan legislators and a senior official at the foreign ministry on Thursday extolled the life achievements of former distinguished American diplomat Henry Kissinger, who died Wednesday at the age of 100.

Kissinger passed away at his home in Connecticut, according to a statement issued by his geopolitical consulting firm, Kissinger Associates Inc., which did not mention the circumstances of his death.

Known as one of the most prominent and controversial figures in U.S. foreign affairs, Kissinger was a Harvard professor who served as national security adviser and secretary of state under former U.S. President Richard Nixon.

In those roles, Kissinger devised and pursued the détente policy that thawed the U.S.' relations with the Soviet Union and China. He also negotiated the U.S.' exit from the Vietnam War, which earned him a Nobel Peace Prize in 1973.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger attends a U.S. Congress hearing on Jan. 29, 2015. CNA file photo
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger attends a U.S. Congress hearing on Jan. 29, 2015. CNA file photo

At a press conference Thursday, Wang Liang-yu (王良玉), head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' (MOFA) North American Affairs Department, said Kissinger was a "towering figure in the history of American diplomacy."

Wang said Taiwan's office in Washington D.C. will formally convey the country's condolences to Kissinger's family.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Taiwan lauded the professional work of the late American diplomat, who was known for his "realpolitik" approach -- diplomacy based on power and practical considerations rather than ideology.

Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who is also an international relations scholar, told reporters in Taipei that Kissinger played an important and historic role in the positive development of U.S.-Sino relations.

Kissinger was known for being extremely friendly towards China, and based on that perception, Kissinger was widely seen among the Chinese people as an "old friend of China," Lo said.

As a leading figure in U.S. foreign affairs, Kissinger had a large following generally, but with his passing his influence on American foreign policy is likely to fade over time, Lo said.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (left) meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on July 20, 2023. Photo: China News Service
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (left) meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on July 20, 2023. Photo: China News Service

Opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Chen I-hsin (陳以信), another expert on diplomacy, expressed condolences on behalf of his party on Kissinger's death.

Chen said, however, that the significant work of the late American diplomat to achieve closer ties between U.S. and China also led to the U.S.' severance of formal relations with Taiwan.

Nonetheless, Kissinger's dedication to pursuing world peace and his ideologies in that regard will continue to serve as an inspiration to Taiwan in its efforts to achieve peace amid the current Sino-U.S. rivalry, Chen said.

(By Wang Yang-yu, Wang Cheng-chung and Joseph Yeh)

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