Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger warned Thursday that an armed conflict could break out between the United States and China if they fail to resolve their trade war.
The sober remarks from Kissinger, who was instrumental in normalising diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing, came at a conference in Beijing on the future of the two economic giants.
“If conflict is permitted to run unconstrained, the outcome could be even worse than it was in Europe,” he said at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum.
“World War I broke out because of a relatively minor crisis … and today the weapons are more powerful,” the former top diplomat said.
China and the US have been caught in a trade dispute for 18 months, with the two sides struggling to reach an agreement despite a series of negotiations.
Tensions have also been running high on the diplomatic front.
Beijing has lashed out at Washington over US naval operations in the disputed South China Sea, US criticism of China’s mass detention of ethnic Uighurs and US Congress support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
“China is a major economic country. And so are we,” Kissinger said. “And so we are bound