Beijing, Jan 16 (Agencies): Ahead of Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to Washington this week, former American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has said US and China "must find" ways to limit their global competition to prevent it from spiraling into a conflict.

"If our two countries cooperate we can contribute to solving the problems of the world. But if we quarrel then it will make it difficult anywhere else to have progress," Kissinger told Chinese state run CCTV in an interview.

"So I am a great advocate for close partnership between China and US. That is the challenge for the next period," said the veteran US diplomat, who played a key role in establishing close strategic ties between Washington and Beijing in the 1970s.

His "ping-pong" diplomacy paved the way for historic "ice breaking" visit of the then US President Richard Nixon to China in 1972.

"But competition does not mean conflict. Competition means we can both benefit and we must find ways to limit this competition so that it doesn’t become conflict," Kissinger said.

During his visit from January 18, President Hu is scheduled to hold extensive talks with his US counterpart Barack Obama on wide range of global and bilateral issues, including the current round of tensions in the Korean Peninsula.

They are also scheduled to discuss the growing engagement of US in Asia to rally round a number of countries, including India to contain China, the slow appreciation of Yuan against dollar reaping benefits to Chinese products and Beijing’s massive militarisation programme.

On China-US economic and trade relations, around 70 per cent of respondents think the two nations are both competitors and partners.

Chinese media also gave wide coverage of US Secretary, Hillary’s Clinton’s candid assessment of the bilateral relations made in her speech on Sino-US ties in Washington on
January 14 in which she said: "America and China have arrived at a critical juncture".

"A time when the choices we make, both big and small, will shape the trajectory of this relationship," she said.

US and China need to deal with their differences wisely and responsibly, Clinton said, noting that "these are the things that will determine whether our relationship delivers on its  potential in the years to come."

She said the US and China have already come "a very long way" and have had three decades of "intense engagement" after many years of virtually no contact with each other.

"Today, our relationship has gone global. We debate and discuss nearly every major international issue in both bilateral dialogues and multilateral meetings. The breadth of
our engagement will be on full display next week when President Obama welcomes President Hu to the White House," she said.

Clinton reminded the Chinese leadership that three decades of relations between the two countries is also the period of impressive growth for China.

"The United States has welcomed this growth, and we have benefited from it. Today, our economies are entwined, and so are our futures," she underlined.