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China-U.S. Relations: Beijing Review's Perspective
The timeline shows the history of this particular history through excerpts from this weekly publication
 NO.9 MARCH 2, 2017

Editor's note: February 28 marks the 45th anniversary of the signing of the Shanghai Communiqué, which functions as the foundation of the most important bilateral relationship in the world.  Beijing Review, first published in 1958, has dedicated itself to being an honest recorder of Sino-U.S. relations. The timeline shows the history of this particular history through excerpts from this weekly publication.


During this period, China and the United States were opposed to each other both politically and diplomatically. Articles in Beijing Review described the disagreements between the two nations, such as the Korean War and the Taiwan question. China saw the United States as a nation of imperialism.

On the Korean War 

The Chinese People's Volunteers in Korea will pull out this year. This opens a new avenue for the peaceful settlement of the Korean question. What are the prospects? The whole world is watching anxiously to see whether the United States and the other countries with troops in Korea will follow suit.

--A New Move for Peace, published on March 4, 1958 

On the Taiwan question 

“The 700 million Chinese people are determined to liberate their sacred territory Taiwan and drive U.S. imperialism out of Taiwan. This is the unshakable will of the Chinese people. U.S. imperialism must get out of Taiwan!"

--U.S. Imperialism Must Get Out of Taiwan, published on July 3, 1970 

The U.S. so-called "dual representation" resolution is also entirely untenable. The U.S. resolution alleges "having regard for the existing factual situation." But the living reality is: There is only one China in the world, namely, the People's Republic of China; and there is only one Chinese Government in the world, namely, the Government of the People's Republic of China.

--Resolutely Oppose U.S. Scheme of Creating "Two Chinas", published on September 30, 1971 


Both nations realized the necessity of improving bilateral relations in the late 1960s. Therefore, the 1970s saw the normalization of Sino-U.S. ties.

On the normalization of Sino-U.S. relations, the historic visit of President Richard Nixon, and the signing of the Shanghai Communiqué 

Richard Nixon, President of the United States of America, arrived in Peking by special plane on the morning of February 21 on a visit at the invitation of the Government of the People's Republic of China.

--President Nixon Arrives in Peking, published on February 25, 1972 

The Chinese and U.S. sides reached agreement on a joint communiqué on February 27 in Shanghai. The two sides expressed the hope that the gains achieved during this visit would open up new prospects for the relations between the two countries. They believe that the normalization of relations between the two countries is not only in the interest of the Chinese and American peoples but also contributes to the relaxation of tension in Asia and the world.

--Joint Communiqué, published on March 3, 1972 

On the establishment of diplomatic relations 

The People's Republic of China and the United States of America have decided to establish diplomatic relations as of January 1, 1979. It was agreed upon through consultations between the two sides that the joint communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic relations was made known in advance on the morning of December 16.

--Establishment of Diplomatic Relations Between P.R.C. and U.S.A., published on December 22, 1978 

On Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping’s U.S. visit 

During their three-day stay in Washington, D.C., Vice–Premier Deng Xiaoping, his wife Zhuo Lin and his party were accorded a warm welcome. President Carter and Vice–Premier Deng made important speeches on many occasions. Both sides stressed strengthening relations between China and the United States of American for world peace, security and stability.

--Vice-Premier Deng in Washington, February 9, 1979 

♦ 1980s 

Sino-U.S. relations were developing at a reasonably fast pace. Both countries enjoyed more communication with each other. However, friction still existed.

On President Ronald Reagan's visit to China 

President Reagan emphasized to members of the Chinese economic and scientific communities that the relaxing of U.S. export controls reflected his determination that China be treated as a friendly, non-allied nation and that the United States be fully prepared to co-operate in China's modernization.

--President Reagan's Speech, published on May 7, 1984 

On President George H.W.Bush's visit to China 

The White House declared the president's trip to China (from February 25 to 27), only five days after Bush took office on January 20, a diplomatic blitz that has aroused great interest worldwide. Foreign reporters coming to cover the visit will total more than 400.

--Let Friendly Sino-U.S. Train Roll On, published on March 5,1989 


Sino-U.S. relations in early 1990s were often characterized by frictions and disputes surrounding most-favored-nation status, the Taiwan question and human rights. Relations thawed when Bill Clinton became the U.S. president. However, they took a nosedive when China's embassy in the Republic of Yugoslavia was bombed by U.S. planes in 1999.

On meeting of President Jiang and President Bill Clinton during APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting 

Chinese and U.S. presidents vowed to build closer Sino-U.S. relations during their one-hour talk on the eve of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation informal summit meeting held on November 15 in Bogor, Indonesia.

--China, USA Vow to Build Closer Ties, published on November 21,1994 

On President Jiang Zemin’s U.S. visit 

Chinese President Jiang Zemin will make a state visit to the United States this fall. The visit is not only the first formal visit by a Chinese head of state to the United States in the past 12 years, but also one of the most important summit meetings between the two presidents in the last 10 years. Therefore, both sides attach much importance to the event.

--Historic Visit Promotes Relations, published on October 20, 1997 

On President Bill Clinton's visit to China 

Presidents Jiang Zemin and Bill Clinton jointly held a press conference after a three-hour summit meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 27. They set forth their respective views and stands, and debated some issues, while answering reporters' questions. China Central Television (CCTV) broadcast the conference live.

--Pragmatic Sino-U.S. Ties, published on July 20,1998 

On the bombing of the Chinese Embassy by U.S. planes 

Now that the bombing [on China's embassy in the Republic of Yugoslavia] is not an accidental event, it can only be interpreted as a premeditated scheme. The message the raid sent is very clear-hostility, intimidation and provocation.

--Behind the Bombing of the Chinese Embassy, published on May 24, 1999 

♦2000 till now 

The beginning of the 21st century saw the stable development of Sino-U.S. relations. The two countries have been connected to each other economically and diplomatically more than ever before. President Xi Jinping has proposed building a "new model of major power relations" between China and the United States.


China and the United States reached a bilateral agreement on China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on November 15, 1999. This is an event of immediate and far-reaching historical significance.

--Significance of the Bilateral Agreement Between China and the United States on China's Accession to the WTO, published on January 31, 2000  

On President George Bush's visit 

From a diplomatic perspective, during the time between former U.S. President Nixon's visit to China 30 years ago and this U.S. leader's visit, fundamental changes have taken place in China and the world at large. This event, demonstrating the sound momentum of current Sino-U.S. relations, will enhance people's confidence in such ties, which will facilitate their further improvement and development.

--Bush's Visit and Sino-U.S. Ties, published on February 21, 2002 

On President Hu Jintao's U.S. visit 

Chinese President Hu Jintao made his first state visit to the United States April 19-21. The president kicked off his tour in Seattle, where he had intense contact with the American business community as represented by Boeing and Microsoft. Hu then landed in Washington D.C. for a summit meeting with President George W. Bush, followed by a visit to Yale University.

--The Trade Ties That Bind, published on May 4, 2006, Issue 18 

On President Barack Obama's visit to China 

The fact that President Obama spent four days and three nights of his seven-day visit to four Asian nations in Beijing and Shanghai has demonstrated the importance his administration attaches to China and to Sino-U.S. relations in its global strategy.

--A Successful Visit, published on November 26, 2009 

On President Xi Jinping’s U.S. visit 

During this unusual personal meeting in the desert resort [Annenberg Estate in California], Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to try to build the new type of bilateral ties based on mutual respect and win-win cooperation.

The current Sino-U.S. relationship, especially when it comes to economic and cultural exchanges, has far exceeded any bilateral relations between major powers in history.

--Xi and Obama Look to the Future of Bilateral Relations, published on June 20, 2013 

China is ready to develop a relationship with the United States that stands on mutual respect, inclusiveness, strategic mutual trust and extensive exchanges and cooperation, which it believes will benefit the two countries and the world. Building this new model of major power relations requires that both countries move in the same direction.

--A New Relationship Model, published on September 17, 2015 

On THAAD deployment 

The move [to deploy the United States military's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system] is unable to bring denuclearization on the Koran Peninsula, but will aggravate tensions in the region as Pyongyang may see itself as being backed into a corner and thus take futher actions to accelerate its nuclear projects.

Moreover, Seoul's decision has been met with resistance from regional countries including China and Russia, as the system is detrimental to their security interests.

World peace is precariously based on the theory of deterrence underlining mutually assured destruction,which argues that the threat of using nuclear weapons against the enemy prevents the enemy's use of the same weapons.

--The Specter of Containment, published on July 28, 2016 

On the South China Sea issue 

China-U.S. relations are too important for us to allow them to be hijacked by the South China Sea issue. We may have major differences, but we also share important interests, including maintaining regional peace and stability, supporting freedom of navigation and overflight in accordance with international law, and resolving disputes through peaceful negotiations and diplomatic dialogue.

--Communication Helps to Build Trust, published on June 23, 2016 

On the U.S. presidential election 

[Donald] Trump’s election as the U.S. President presents both opportunity and challenge. As long as he adheres to a pragmatic approach, his administration can build up a collaborative and mutually beneficial partnership with China and others. His lack of experience and over-confidence, nevertheless, could frustrate him and create uncertainty for the world. It is time for Americans to unite again, monitor his acts and direct him to follow the call of the majority, not merely his own voters.

--Turing Challenge into Opportunity, published on November 17,2016 

On U.S.President-elect Donald Trump’s phone call to Taiwan’s leader 

Trump is not yet the president of the United States and he will not be until his inauguration on January 20, 2017. So whatever he says until then has no official weight or effect. The White House was on top of the situation and very clearly expressed that the United States had not changed its “longstanding” policy on the Taiwan issue from previous administrations.

--Trump’s Phone Call Tempest, published on December 15, 2016 

Copyedited by Dominic James Madar  

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