President Nixon's visit to the People's Republic of China will mark a major breakthrough in relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China.
President Nixon's visit to the People's Republic of China will mark a major breakthrough in relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China. In the past, contact between the two countries has been limited and, very often, tense.
After America's unsuccessful support of Chaing Kai-Shek in 1949, the first significant contact between the two countries occurred in June, 1950, when the war in Korea began. By the end of the year, Chinese and American troops were fighting each other and would continue to do so until 1953.
As Americans and Chinese soldiers fought in Korea, talks between the opposing forces were going on at the village of panmunjom. There, for a time, Communist and United Nations representatives argued and Americans and Chinese faced such other again -- but this time across a table.
Even after the and of the shooting in 1953, the Panmunjom talks continued -- and they're still going on now, although at far less frequent intervals.
Confrontation between America and China has continued with varying degrees of hostility through the years. In the late 1950's, the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu became the focal point of trouble as China attempted to back up its claim for them. The Taiwan Government holds the islands and has heavily-fortified garrisons there.
The islands were shelled from China and American warships escorted supply ships through the blockade. Eventually, the shelling stopped, and the islands have remained with Taiwan.
There's been diplomatic contact as well between the two countries int he past years -- but on a very tenuous and semi-official basis. Since 1955, American and Chinese diplomats have been meeting in Geneva and Warsaw. The meetings have been irregular with long lapses. Nevertheless, for a long time, they ware almost the only means of contact between Poking and Washington and have served as a sounding-board for official feeling on matters concerning them both -- such as the war in Indochina.
Singe last summer, however, contact between the two countries has been growing both in number and significance, culminating in President Nixon's forthcoming visit. While the President has said he doesn't expect the visit to come up with any long-lasting solutions, it's at least the beginning of a far greater degree of mutual contact.
SYNOPSIS: In 1970, representatives of the People's Republic of China and the United States met in Warsaw at a full-scale diplomatic level for the first time after a lapse of two years. Until recently, these intermittent meetings were virtually the only contact between the American and Chinese Governments. But Precedent Nixon's forthcoming visit to Peking will change that. Since last summer, contact between China and the United States has increased significantly.
But past contacts have often been more violent. The Korean War, which began in 1950, soon became a full-scale conflict involving Americans and other United Nations troops. And by the end of the year, Chinese troops were in combat, aiding their North Korean allies. Chinese and American troops were soon in direct conflict.
Chinese and Americans were also engaged in talking in the town of Panmunjom, near the 38th Parallel along which much of the fighting was taking place. For a long time, the talks -- aimed at achieving a cease-fire -- continued. Finally, in July, 1953 the warring representatives agreed on terms and the shooting stopped.
Confrontations between the United States and China continued, however. In the late 1950's China repeated its claim to the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu. For months a regular barrage rained artillery shells down on the islands. Taiwan Government troops ware stationed on the islands and supply convoys ran the blockade. American war ships covered the relief ships from Taiwan. Although Chinese and Americans weren't directly engaged, the tensions were great. Eventually, however, the shellings stopped and the islands have remained with Taiwan.
The Taiwan troops on Quemoy made use of their position close to China by using them as bases for a propaganda war. By 1966, a constant routine was the releasing of balloons with psychological warfare material attached. It was hoped this material would float to China on wind currents. The American Seventh Fleet continued to lend their support to the islands' forces and those of Taiwan and were never far away in the event of trouble.
But even as these tensions persisted, American and Chinese diplomats were meeting. The talks began in 1955 in Geneva. They have continued to take place intermittently there and in Warsaw. The talks served as a sounding-board by which the two governments were able to have some contact on matters of mutual importance -- such as the war in Indochina. But these talks have been shadowed by President Nixon's Chinese visit. And while the President has said he doesn't expect the visit to come up with any long-lasting solutions, it's the beginning of a greater degree of joint contact.