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Negotiating with the Enemy

U.S.-China Talks during the Cold War, 1949-1972

Yafeng Xia

Publication Year: 2006

"A very good attempt to give a coherent and consistent account of the China-U.S. contacts during the Cold War.... [R]eaders will certainly gain a better understanding of this interesting and intricate history." -- Zhou Wenzhong, Chinese Ambassador to the United States

Few relationships during the Cold War were as dramatic as that between the United States and China. During World War II, China was America's ally against Japan. By 1949, the two countries viewed each other as adversaries and soon faced off in Korea. For the next two decades, Beijing and Washington were bitter enemies. Negotiating with the Enemy is a gripping account of that period. On several occasions -- Taiwan in 1954 and 1958, and Vietnam in 1965 -- the nations were again on the verge of direct military confrontation. However, even as relations seemed at their worst, the process leading to a rapprochement had begun. Dramatic episodes such as the Ping-Pong diplomacy of spring 1971 and Henry Kissinger's secret trip to Beijing in July 1971 paved the way for Nixon's historic 1972 meeting with Mao.

Published by: Indiana University Press


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pp. vii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix

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pp. xi-xii

Professor Shu Guang Zhang guided my study of modern diplomatic history at the University of Maryland, College Park. As my mentor, Professor Zhang encouraged me to explore U.S-China relations, shared many Chinese documents from his own collection...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xiii

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Note on Transliteration

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pp. xv

Chinese names and places are rendered throughout the text in the Hanyu Pinyin system of transliteration. Some names are more familiar to Western readers in their traditional...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-11

This book treats U.S.-China negotiations from 1949 to 1972. During the heyday of the Cold War, Beijing (Peking) and Washington confronted one another on almost every front, but at the same time, conducted negotiations, open and secret alike....

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2. Establishing Contact: Huang-Stuart Talks, 1949

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pp. 12-42

The year 1949 proved pivotal in changing the dynamics of postwar international relations. In 1949, the People’s Republic of China replaced the Republic of China, after winning a nationwide victory in the civil war and driving the Nationalist government to Taiwan...

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3. Negotiating While Fighting: The Korean Armistice Talks,1951–53

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pp. 43-75

The Korean armistice negotiations, conducted between U.S. military of

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4. Creating a Special Channel: The Ambassadorial Talks,1955–60

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pp. 76-105

In the immediate aftermath of the Korean armistice, both Beijing and Washington seemed inclined to further ease tensions between them. On 7 July 1954, at an enlarged meeting of the CCP Politburo, Mao Zedong observed that “the general international...

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5. Negotiating at Cross-Purposes: The Ambassadorial Talks,1961–68

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pp. 106-134

The ambassadorial talks stalemated in the late 1950s when the two sides were bogged down on the major issue of contention—Taiwan. Yet, throughout most of the 1960s, Washington and Beijing carried on the talks, although less frequently: there were...

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6. Entering a New Era: Toward Higher-level Talks, January 1969–June 1971

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pp. 135-161

The election of Richard Nixon as president in 1968 marked a new era in U.S. Cold War strategy—the coming of “détente.” Departing from the old bipolar system, the Nixon administration expected to recon¤gure the great power structure by pushing...

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7. Breaking the Ice: Kissinger and Haig in Beijing, July 1971–January 1972

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pp. 162-188

When publicly announced on 15 July 1971, Henry Kissinger’s secret visit to Beijing stunned the world. Kissinger’s second and open visit to Beijing in October of the same year, and the visit of the advance team led by Kissinger’s deputy Alexander...

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8. Summit Talks: Nixon’s China Trip, February 1972

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pp. 189-212

After nearly four years of contemplation and secret diplomacy, Richard Nixon was ¤nally en route to China. Toasting his Chinese hosts at the banquet on his last night in China on 27 February 1972, Nixon said, “We have been here a week....

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9. Conclusion

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pp. 213-227

With the U.S. retaining diplomatic relations with the ROC government in Taiwan after Nixon’s China trip in 1972, Washington and Beijing agreed to establish diplomatic representation in the other’s capital with a “liaison of¤ce” in 1973....


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pp. 229-243


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pp. 245-296


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pp. 297-318


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pp. 319-326

E-ISBN-13: 9780253112378
E-ISBN-10: 0253112370
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253347589

Page Count: 352
Illustrations: 10 b&w photos, 4 maps
Publication Year: 2006