In a remarkable 90-minute meeting, with Mr. Kissinger playing M.C., Mr. Gates and other heavyweight executives and economists from the West engaged Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. He listened patiently, and often volleyed back, on topics including currency and trade policies, foreign investment and whether China needed to improve its social safety net.
Others in the circle — literally a large ring of a few dozen chairs — included Jamie Dimon, the head of JPMorgan Chase; Lloyd C. Blankfein, the Goldman Sachs chief; Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel in economics; Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and chief of American Express; and PepsiCo’s chief executive, Indra K. Nooyi.
China’s top leaders rarely meet Western executives. But Mr. Wen, in New York for a session of the United Nations General Assembly, agreed to sit down with the group, possibly in the hope of helping ease growing tensions between the United States and China over various issues.