Kissinger on U.S.-China Conflict: ‘Very Hard to See How Either Country Would Really Defeat the Other’

By Patrick Burke | March 25, 2013 | 12:00 PM EDT

Dr. Henry Kissinger. (AP)

( -- Dr. Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser to President Richard Nixon, said if the United States and China entered into a military conflict, it would be “very hard to see how either country would really defeat the other.”

“Here we have with China a country with a different culture, considerable development -- and can they outdo us in a military way? I can't conceive it,” Kissinger said during a Mar. 15 appearance at the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth, TX.

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“But if they tried to do this, we will have a conflict...I think we should attempt -- and that will be only if they join us -- to see whether in a world in which there are so many problems to be solved, we can evolve a cooperative model,” he said.

Kissinger added that “it’s very hard to see” how either the U.S. or Chinese military would be able to defeat the other army.

“From a purely military point of view, it's very hard to see how either country would really defeat the other, but when you have energy, nonproliferation, cyber issues -- which really is a shorthand for all the new technologies under development -- I think a cooperative effort is needed to see whether they can be solved,” he said.

The newly elected president of China, Xi Jinping, is currently traveling to different countries, first stopping in Russia (last Friday), where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

President Barack Obama spoke with Xi on Mar. 14 to congratulate him on his election to the presidency, and to discuss a number of issues, including North Korea, international trade and cyber-security threats.

“The president underscored his firm commitment to increasing practical cooperation to address Asia’s and the world’s most pressing economic and security challenges,”   according to a Mar. 14 statement issued by the White House.

“The President highlighted the threat to the United States, its allies, and the region from North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, and stressed the need for close coordination with China to ensure North Korea meets its denuclearization commitments,” the statement said.