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Nixon's landmark visit to China(02/21/07)


Late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong shakes hands with Former U.S. President Richard Nixon.

Late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong shakes hands with Former U.S. President Richard Nixon. (File Photo)
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    Former U.S. President Richard Nixon started his landmark visit to China on Feb. 21, 1972, turning "the historic handshake between the leaders of two countries across the Pacific" into a reality and marking the beginning of a new era.

    From the late 1960s, the former Soviet Union went into an offensive in its battle for hegemony with the United States, which was then immersed in the Vietnam War.

    Under the strategic consideration of contending with the Soviet Union, Nixon, who took office in 1969, started to adjust U.S. policy towards China, and the relationship between the two countries began to shift from confrontation to dialogue.

    In January 1970, the two countries resumed talks at the ambassadorial level. In April 1971, the U.S. ping pong team's visit to China opened the door of friendly visits between the two peoples. Three months later, U.S. envoy Henry Kissinger paid a secret visit to China to prepare for Nixon's tour.

    On Feb. 21, 1972, Nixon and his wife, accompanied by then Secretary of State William Rogers and Henry Kissinger, then adviser to the president for national security, arrived in Beijing for his weeklong "ice-breaking" tour, which changed the world.

    Late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong paid special attention to Nixon's visit and met with the American guest in his study on Feb.21. The two leaders had a candid exchange of views on major issues of common concern.

    On Feb. 28, a Sino-U.S. joint communique, known as the Shanghai Communique, was issued in Shanghai, China.

    In the communique, the U.S. for the first time in its relationship with modern China "acknowledged" that there is only one China, and Taiwan is an integral part of the country. It also said that the normalization of Sino-U.S. ties was in accordance with the interests of all other countries.

    Nixon's visit to China and the issuing of the Shanghai Communique marked the beginning of the normalization of Sino-U.S. relations, which opened the door for the development of bilateral ties, ushered in a new page in the history of Sino-U.S. relationship and laid down the foundation for the future establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and for the further development of bilateral ties.

Late Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai shakes hands with Former U.S. President Richard Nixon.

Late Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai shakes hands with Former U.S. President Richard Nixon.(File Photo)
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