Chinese state media praise Bush as 'statesman of vision'

A woman walks by a photo showing former U.S. President George H.W. Bush greeted by a tourist during his visit to Beijing's Silk Street, on display at the Silk Street Mall in Beijing, Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. Chinese state media praised on Monday Bush as a "statesman of vision," recalling the late president's role in helping end the Cold War and establishing policies toward China. The China Daily newspaper said that Bush in the 1980s realized China was different from the Soviet Union and recognized the potential for cooperation. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
FILE - In this Feb. 25, 1989, file photo, then U.S. President George H.W. Bush stands on his car and waves to crowds in Tiananman Square in Beijing. Chinese state media are praising Bush as a "statesman of vision," recalling the late president's role in helping end the Cold War and establishing policies toward China. The China Daily newspaper said Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, that Bush in the 1980s realized China was different from the Soviet Union and recognized the potential for cooperation. (AP Photo/Doug Mills, File)

BEIJING — Chinese state media on Monday praised George H.W. Bush as a "statesman of vision," recalling the late president's role in helping end the Cold War and establishing the foundations of U.S.-China relations.

The China Daily newspaper said Bush, who died Friday in Houston at age 94, realized in the 1980s that China was different from the Soviet Union and recognized the potential for cooperation.

"It is fair to say, Bush was a statement of vision, not only for being a co-founder of the U.S. dominancy in the post-Cold War era, but also his insightful observations on China, which were the key for the forming of the U.S.'s China policies in the 1980s and beyond," the paper said in an editorial headlined, "Old friend who helped set the course for ties."

Bush was America's unofficial ambassador to China in 1974-75 as the two countries were moving toward establishing diplomatic relations amid tensions between Moscow and Beijing. Arriving just two years after President Richard Nixon opened direct contacts with China, Bush was a pivotal figure in building contacts prior to the establishment of full diplomatic relations in 1979. Over his 14 months in Beijing, he and his wife, Barbara Bush, became known for riding their bikes through the city's winding lanes and socializing with other members of the Western diplomatic community.

Bush is also remembered for smoothing over a rough patch in relations while president following the bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protests centered on Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Despite widespread condemnation and moves to isolate China in the West, Bush sent his national security adviser, Brent Scowcroft, on a secret mission to reassure the government of former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping that there would be no major rupture in ties.

On Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping offered his condolences at a meeting with President Donald Trump, saying Bush's passing left him "greatly saddened" and calling him "someone who had made an important contribution to China-U.S. friendship and relations during his lifetime."

People also read these

Suu Kyi meets Chinese president during visit to...

Aug 19, 2016

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has met with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to...

China, Myanmar vow closer ties as Suu Kyi visits...

Aug 20, 2016

China and Myanmar have pledged to forge closer ties as "blood brothers," as Myanmar leader Aung San...

With father in tow, Kaine seeks support from...

Aug 23, 2016

Tasked with shoring up union support for Hillary Clinton, running mate Tim Kaine turned Monday to...

US, Biden face tough task to mend relations with...

Aug 23, 2016

The United States is struggling to preserve its wobbly partnership with Turkey as the key NATO ally...

Army general testifies no one swayed him in...

Aug 24, 2016

The Army general overseeing the prosecution of Bowe Bergdahl says no one influenced his decisions...