50 years on Kissinger hails Pakistan’s role in US-China breakthrough

Observer Report

As China marked the 50th anniversary Dr Henry Kissinger’s secret visit to Beijing from Islamabad, the former US secretary of state on Sunday hailed Pakistan’s pivotal role in bringing the United States and China closer in 1971.

Addressing a webinar titled ‘50 Years of China-US Relations’ organised by the China Development Forum, Dr Kissinger praised Pakistan for its key role during that period and how the then president, General Yahya Khan acted as a go-between China and US, communicating secretly with Chinese premier Zhou Enlai and US president Nixon, which led to Dr Kissinger’s path-breaking journey in a PIA plane from Islamabad to Beijing on July 9, 1971.

The former secretary of state recounted on how the first message from China was in the form of a handwritten note which was personally dictated to him in the White House by the then Pakistan’s Ambassador in Washington, Agha Hilaly.

Speaking next after Dr Kissinger, Senator Mushahid Hussain, representing Pakistan, said that this historic breakthrough in China-US relations became possible due to the “indispensable role of Pakistan which enjoyed the trust of both China and the United States, whose then president, Richard Nixon, had tremendous affection and goodwill for Pakistan”.

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