Section 3. Relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China


Relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China made gradual but steady progress after President Nixon's visit to China (in February 1972). They continued to strengthen their working relations on the basis of the relations already established between them, and they agreed to establish respective liaison offices in the capital of the other country as a result of Presidential Assistant Kissinger's visit to China in February 1973.


1. Progress of U.S.-China relations


The first major event after President Nixon's visit in early 1972 was Presidential Assistant Kissinger's visit to China (from June 19 to 23, 1972) on which occasion the two countries discussed matters of mutual concern. On November 22, 1972, President Nixon announced that the United States would remove restrictions on travel by U.S. aircraft and ships to China. It was learned (in August) that China had established a bureau in charge of the Americas within the Foreign Ministry. However, it can be said that U.S.-China relations progressed in 1972 without any change of particular significance.

The Vietnam war, together with the Taiwan problem, can be mentioned as a reason for the lack of particular progress in their bilateral relations in 1972. In August, five Chinese crew members of a ship were killed in an explosion of a bomb dropped by a U.S. plane. China maintained the attitude that there could be no progress in relations with the United States unless the Vietnam war was settled.


2. Establishment of liaison offices


Therefore, when the Vietnam cease-fire was realized at the end of January 1973, it was anticipated that their bilateral relations would develop rapidly in 1973. In this situation, Presidential Assistant Kissinger visited China from February 15 to 19 and held consultations with Chinese leaders several times and met with Chairman Mao Tse-tung, as well.

The U.S.-China joint statement issued after Kissinger's return home noted that (i) the two sides agreed that the time was appropriate for accelerating the normalization of their relations, (ii) the two sides agreed on the establishment of respective liaison offices in each other's capital, and (iii) such problems as the settlement of credits and debts between the two countries and the exchange of journalists were to be put on the agenda.

On March 15 President Nixon announced that he had appointed David K. E. Bruce as the first chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in Peking. On March 30, China announced that it had appointed Huang Chen as the first chief of the Chinese Liaison Office in Washington. It was agreed to grant diplomatic privileges to the members of the liaison offices of both countries. and to allow them the use of codes.


3. Increased personnel interchange


One of the most conspicuous developments after President Nixon's visit to China was an increased interchange of personnel. From the United States, Senators Mike Mansfield and Hugh Scott, scholars, scientists, journalists and various groups visited China one after another. That China allowed its own citizens to visit the United States attracted particular attention. Although the number of visitors from China to the United States was still small, a table tennis team visited the United States (in April 1972), followed by a medical mission (in October), a scientific mission (in November) and a circus troupe (in December).


4. Progress of economic relations


Another conspicuous development after President Nixon's visit to China was increased trade. At first, many people thought that trade between the two countries would not develop rapidly. However, the volume of American goods purchased by China increased at a higher rate than had been expected, partly because China suffered from a number of natural disasters in 1972. China's purchases of wheat and raw cotton were particularly large. If their bilateral trade grows smoothly, the United States will become a major supplier for China in the future.


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