Photo of the Day: Henry Kissinger meets Li Keqiang


So this is pretty amazing.China Flag Icon

Henry Kissinger, the U.S. secretary of state and national security adviser who paved the way for U.S. president Richard M. Nixon’s historic visit in February 1972 and thereafter, the normalization of U.S.-Chinese relations, met with Li Keqiang (李克强), the new premier of the People’s Republic of China on Tuesday:

[Li] said China is willing to work with the US to develop an unprecedented type of relationship in order to allow both sides to benefit from bilateral cooperation and play their due roles in maintaining world peace.

Kissinger highlighted the vital importance of US-China relations in promoting world peace and development, suggesting that both sides should work on long-term planning and strengthen communication to foster ties.

It must have been quite a stunning chat, considering that the current ‘Fifth Generation’ of leadership is essentially four generations of Chinese governance removed from the generation that Kissinger and Nixon encountered — Chinese premier Zhao Enlai (周恩来) and Chinese Communist Party chairman Mao Zedong (毛泽东).  Like him or love him, Kissinger remains one of the top old-school Sinologists in the United States, writing at age 89 a new book, On China, just last year.  When Nixon visited China, Li was just 17 years old.  The change that China has seen in the ensuing 41 years is one of the most amazing transformations of any human society in such a short period of time.

More background here on Li from my seven-part series from November 2012 on the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (中国共产党).  Li speaks fluent English; unlike many of his colleagues on the Standing Committee, he is a protégé of Hu Jintao (胡锦涛) and unlike Chinese president Xi Jinping (习近平), Li is not a princeling.  An economic reformer, Li served as the Party secretary of Henan province previously, and he’s emphasized since becoming premier that his chief tasks will be to roll back Chinese government spending in favor of private sector development, corruption and the massive size of Chinese government bureaucracy, and tackling the growing gap between China’s rich and poor.

First Past the Post: March 26


East and South Asia

Bangladesh marks 42 years of independence today.

A third way for India in 2014?

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar wins ‘backward’ status for his region.

South Korea President Park Guen-hye’s sixth nominee withdraws — this time the nominee for chairman of the Fair Trade Commission.

China’s new first lady Peng Liyuan is making a fashion statement.

A poor reception on Sunday for the return of former Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf.

Mir Hazar Khan Khoso is sworn in as Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister.

Japan and the European Union to start free trade negotiations.

North America

The U.S. Supreme Court (pictured above) will consider gay marriage in California — and the successful ballot measure (Proposition 8) that revoked it — today.

Did the U.S.-led Iraqi war cause the Great Recession?

Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty goes to China.


A very good summary of the past seven days of pre-campaigning, courtesy Caracas Chronicles.

An English translation of an El Universal interview with presidential candidate Henrique Capriles: acting president Nicolás Maduro is ‘a fascist in his own right’ and a ‘lousy imitation of Chávez.’

Maduro warns that ‘outside experts’ are sabotaging the country’s electricity supply.  [Spanish]

El baile de ‘Nicolás’ and el beso de Nicolas (though Al Gore’s beso was better in 2000). [Spanish]

Here’s the kiss:

Latin America / Caribbean

All you wanted to know about the Mexican economy, courtesy Marginal Revolution.

Colorado candidate Horacio Cartes leads polls to become Paraguay’s next president.  [Spanish]

Georges Henry Honorat, a top official to Haiti’s president, has been killed in his home.

México’s lower house has passed president Enrique Peña Nieto’s telecommunications reforms.

Salvadorans want sainthood for slain priest Oscár Romero.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya’s Supreme Court has ordered a new recount of some of the March 4 presidential election results.

The Central African Republic’s new rebel leaders are suspending the centrafrique constitution.

Former Zambian president Rupiah Banda is arrested.

Ghana has a George Walker Bush highway?

The European Union lifts many of its sanctions on Zimbabwe following its March 16 constitutional referendum.

The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front holds its first congress after the death of Meles Zenawi.


Cypriot banks will remain closed until Thursday.

Far left French leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon accused of anti-Semitism?

Spiegel interviews former World Bank president Robert Zoellick.

Spain’s economy minister is worried about Cypriot contagion.

Russia and Former Soviet Union

Exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky died by hanging, according to UK officials.

Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan has responded to opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian, still on hunger strike in protest of the February presidential election results.

Middle East and North Africa

Egypt has arrested five top opposition activists.

Erin Cunninghanm at Global Post asks if Qatar is abandoning Egypt.

Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad in trouble?


An interactive map of world hunger.