Historic figures in Sino-U.S. relations: Richard Nixon

'Ping-Pong Diplomacy'

On April 7, 1971, Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong made a decision to invite the United States table tennis team to visit China. On April 14, Premier Zhou Enlai met with the US ping-pong players, the first visiting American guests since 1949. Zhou told the US players: "You open a new historical chapter in the bilateral relations between Chinese people and American people." Just hours after Zhou’s welcome of the table tennis players, US President Richard M. Nixon announced initiatives to trade and travel between the US and the People’s Republic of China.

US President Richard Nixon Visits China; Shanghai Communique

From February 21 to 28, 1972, President Nixon visited China, the first leader ever to visit from a country that had not yet established diplomatic relations with China. Mao Zedong held historic and significant talks with Nixon. On February 27, China and the US issued their first joint Communique in which both nations pledged to work toward full normalization of diplomatic relations. This was the Joint Communique between the People's Republic of China and the United States of America – also known as the "Shanghai Communique." It represented the end of an old era and the beginning of a new one in China-US relations.


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