Death of Henry Kissinger: A cascade of international tributes

Following the death of the American Henry Kissinger, international reactions followed one another on Thursday, November 30, to pay tribute to a huge - controversial - figure of international diplomacy, from Ukraine to China, via Russia.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Feng Li/Pool

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The announcement of the death of Henry Kissinger, a controversial figure in American diplomacy during the Cold War era, who died on Wednesday at the age of 100, sparked a shower of tributes around the world on Thursday 30 November. The diplomat's family will hold a private funeral, the statement said, citing a later public tribute ceremony in New York.

Read alsoUnited States: Henry Kissinger, the man of presidents, is dead

With his passing, "America has lost one of its safest and most listened to voices in foreign policy," former U.S. President George W. Bush, a fellow Republican, said in a statement. Initiating the rapprochement with Moscow and Beijing in the 1970s, Henry Kissinger saw his image tarnished by dark pages in the history of the United States, such as the support for the 1973 coup d'état and especially the Vietnam War. Moreover, Ukraine praised Kissinger's "intellectual legacy" while noting that he was both a "controversial" and "exceptional" figure.

Emmanuel Macron, for his part, preferred to pay tribute to "a giant of history", who had "a lasting influence on his time". British Foreign Secretary David Cameron called him a "great statesman" who will be "greatly missed" because "even at 100 years old, his wisdom and thinking shone."

Russia and China praise his work

Several reactions also recall Kissinger's key role in some of the thorniest issues in the history of international relations. Vladimir Putin highlighted the man's work on the "de-escalation of international tensions and very important US-Soviet agreements that have contributed to the strengthening of world security".

In the wake of the Kremlin's reaction, China, through its foreign minister, also made a point of recalling Kissinger's "historic contributions" to Sino-American relations, stressing that he had visited "China more than a hundred times" to "promote the normalization" of ties. "He will forever live in the hearts of the Chinese people as a dear friend," the Chinese ambassador to Washington added. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida highlighted the "significant contributions to peace and stability" in Asia.

(With AFP)

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