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Kissinger: Crisis should force US, China to solve energy problems

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
by Staff Writers
Shanghai (AFP) Oct 29, 2008
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said Wednesday Beijing and Washington should work together on solving energy problems as part of necessary changes brought about by the economic crisis.

Kissinger, who helped broker Beijing's opening up to the world in 1978, said China, the fastest growing economy, and the United States, the world's largest, "have a special need for each other."

"Now we have to be creative for the next 30 years to do the same that we did in the last 30," Kissinger told a financial services forum Wednesday evening.

Previously, the economy was global but politics were national, Kissinger said the economic turmoil has showed that gap can no longer exist.

"We have a common interest on energy to deal with the problem that demand is growing but supply is not," he said.

"We mustn't be confused by the fact oil prices go down and then they go up -- and then they go down," he said.

"If every time they go down, we relax our efforts and every time they go up, we become nervous, that will not work."

Better energy policies are part of the restructuring that must be accelerated as a result of the crisis along with shifts in emphasis from speculation to industrialization in the US economy and from exports to consumption in China, he said.

"It is a difficult situation and some of it is the fault of Americans, who have consumed more than they have produced and gone too deeply into debt. That's undoubtedly true," he said.

The 85-year-old former diplomat, who fled Nazi-Germany for the United States with his family in the 1930s, played down comparisons to the Great Depression.

"I know what what the Great Depression was like," he said. "It was very hard to find a job and we're not anywhere near what conditions were like in the 1930s."

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