Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Prof. ST Hsieh

Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum


[email protected]

February 21, 2022

Fifty years ago today, we were in New Orleans watching live broadcast on President Nixon’s arrival at Beijing Airport greeted by Premier Zhou Enlai. China was a mystery partitioned from the west by the iron curtain for 22 years. There was some news leaked out of China for sure, but it was a very dark picture: China was engulfed by the lawless cultural revolution. But Nixon had strategy and made the gamble. For all that matters, even now, Nixon’s visit China was a victory for him and a victory for the US. In a sense, Nixon took a big gamble and it worked.

For China, it was a big gamble too for inviting Nixon to visit. To say the least, Nixon was known as a staunch anti-communist, was Nixon intended to subvert the Chinese Communist government? Internally, China was ravaged by the culture revolution, externally China was fighting intensely with Soviet Union for the global leadership of “pure” Communism. Welcoming Nixon, the leader of capitalism, could be a sign of Chinese leaderships But in the Communism world. But China took the big gamble and it worked.

Looking at the past 50 years, US-China relationship has not been always smooth. In fact, we can say that most of the time, US and China constantly had to stop and defuse crisis then manage to move forward. There was the 1988 June-4th Tiananmen tragedy, the bombing of Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, the collide of EP-7 over south China sea…looking back these were minor and focused skirmishes.

After the 2008 global financial crisis, China shouldered some responsibilities. But China’s increasing economic strength also alerted the US elites. Hillary Clinton, the then Secretary of State, pioneered the “US Pivot to Indo Pacific” policy. It is now the Biden’s hardline policy of “Indo Pacific Strategy” toward China. US-China is heading to tough competitions in the near future.

Today, the 50th anniversary of Nixon’s first visit to Beijing, the moods of Chinese and the USA are a stark contrast. We quote a few public statements from the attached news reports with some comments.

  1. Nixon was seeking to isolate the Soviet Union and exit a prolonged and bloody Vietnam War that had divided American society.

The Soviet Union did break down in late 1980’s, but as of today Biden is fully engaged with Putin over Ukraine, the risk of a bloody war in Europe is very real. The question now is the US policy “isolate Russia under Putin” working at all? Biden has had summits with Putin already, but Ukraine crisis will go on!

  1. The Vietnam War is over, but America once again finds its society divided, this time over the pandemic response and the last presidential election.

America faces domestic challenges all the time, blaming foreign interferences only make it worse. US society and politics are viciously divided, it is downright a real crisis. US leaders must take a disciplined and responsible approach to unite the US and make the US strong again.

  1. “The U.S. and China have still failed to work out exactly how they will both fit into a world where they both have a role, but find it increasingly hard to accommodate each other.”

The reality now is that both the US and China will have to lead a new world order. It is not for the US to insist China must fit into the existing world order built under the auspices of the USA 60 years ago. It is the G-2 global order that remain to be negotiated.

  1. “The difficulties lie in the misunderstandings between the two societies.  The US public and political leadership understand remarkably little about China’s great history and civilization.”

It is true that misunderstanding between the US and Chinese societies remains the main challenges for a stable US-China relation. Both the US and China should encourage active cultural exchanges. One challenge is a clear understanding of each other’s political systems. The US must understand/accept that there is no real NGO’s in China right now and Chinese government has influence to every aspect of the Chinese society. Nothing wrong with it, as long as the majority of the Chinese society accept it as normal. There is no need for the western media to focus exclusively on the dissidents. On the other hand, China media does not need to refute any US media coverage of social issues in China, because US media do not represent US official positions anyway.

  1. The World needs and deserves peace and prosperity! US and China have to be responsible!

50 years after Nixon visit, US-China ties as fraught as ever


Sun, February 20, 2022, 9:02 PM·5 min read

BEIJING (AP) — At the height of the Cold War, U.S. President Richard Nixon flew into communist China’s center of power for a visit that, over time, would transform U.S.-China relations and China’s position in the world in ways that were unimaginable at the time.

The relationship between China and the United States was always going to be a challenge, and after half a century of ups and downs, is more fraught than ever. The Cold War is long over, but on both sides there are fears a new one could be beginning. Despite repeated Chinese disavowals, America worries that the democratic-led world that triumphed over the Soviet Union could be challenged by the authoritarian model of a powerful and still-rising China.

“The U.S.-China relationship has always been contentious but one of necessity,” said Oriana Skylar Mastro, a China expert at Stanford University. “Perhaps 50 years ago the reasons were mainly economic. Now they are mainly in the security realm. But the relationship has never — and will never — be easy.”

Nixon landed in Beijing on a gray winter morning 50 years ago on Monday. Billboards carried slogans such as “Down with American Imperialism,” part of the upheaval under the Cultural Revolution that banished intellectuals and others to the countryside and subjected many to public humiliation and brutal and even deadly attacks in the name of class struggle.

Nixon’s 1972 trip, which included meetings with Chairman Mao Zedong and a visit to the Great Wall, led to the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1979 and the parallel severing of formal ties with Taiwan, which the U.S. had recognized as the government of China after the communists took power in Beijing in 1949.

Premier Zhou Enlai’s translator wrote in a memoir that, to the best of his recollection, Nixon said, “This hand stretches out across the Pacific Ocean in friendship” as he shook hands with Zhou at the airport.

For both sides, it was a friendship born of circumstances, rather than natural allegiances.

China and the Soviet Union, formerly communist allies, had split and even clashed along their border in 1969, and Mao saw the United States as a potential counterbalance to any threat of a Soviet invasion.

Nixon was seeking to isolate the Soviet Union and exit a prolonged and bloody Vietnam War that had divided American society. He hoped that China, an ally of communist North Vietnam in its battle with the U.S.-backed South, could play a role in resolving the conflict.

The U.S. president put himself “in the position of supplicant to Beijing,” said June Teufel Dreyer, a Chinese politics specialist at the University of Miami. Chinese state media promoted the idea that a “prosperous China would be a peaceful China” and that the country was a huge market for American exports, she said.

It would be decades before that happened. First, the U.S. became a huge market for China, propelling the latter’s meteoric rise from an impoverished nation to the world’s second largest economy.

Nixon’s visit was a “pivotal event that ushered in China’s turn outward and subsequent rise globally,” said the University of Chicago’s Dali Yang, the author of numerous books on Chinese politics and economics.

Two years after Mao’s death in 1976, new leader Deng Xiaoping ushered in an era of partial economic liberalization, creating a mix of state-led capitalism and single-party rule that has endured to this day.

China’s wealth has enabled a major expansion of its military, which the U.S. and its allies see as a threat. The Communist Party says it seeks only to defend its territory. That includes, however, trying to control islands also claimed by Japan in the East China Sea and by Southeast Asian nations in the South China Sea, home to crucial shipping lanes and natural resources.

The military has sent a growing number of warplanes on training missions toward Taiwan, a source of friction with the United States. China claims the self-governing island off its east coast as its territory. The U.S. supplies Taiwan with military equipment and warns China against any attempt to take it by force.

Still, Nixon’s trip to China was touted afterward as the signature foreign policy achievement of an administration that ended in ignominy with Watergate.

Embarking on the process of bringing China back into the international fold was the right move, but the past half-century has yet to put relations on a stable track, said Rana Mitter, professor of Chinese history and modern politics at Oxford University.

“The U.S. and China have still failed to work out exactly how they will both fit into a world where they both have a role, but find it increasingly hard to accommodate each other,” he said.

Chinese officials and scholars see the Nixon visit as a time when the two countries sought communication and mutual understanding despite their differences. Zhu Feng, the dean of the School of International Studies at Nanjing University, said the same approach is key to overcoming the current impasse.

“The commemoration of Nixon’s visit tells us whether we can draw a kind of power from history,” he said.

Though his trip to China gave the U.S. leverage in its Cold War rivalry with the Soviet Union, America now faces a new geopolitical landscape — with echoes of the past.

The Soviet Union is gone, but the Russian and Chinese leaders, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, are finding common cause as they push back against U.S. pressure over their authoritarian ways. The Vietnam War is over, but America once again finds its society divided, this time over the pandemic response and the last presidential election.

U.S. President Joe Biden has said he wants a more predictable relationship with China but major differences over trade and human rights make mutual understanding elusive. The prospect of long-term stability in ties raised by Nixon’s visit seems to be ever farther out of reach.

“China-U.S. relations are terrible,” said Xiong Zhiyong, a professor of international relations at China Foreign Affairs University. “There are indeed people hoping to improve relations, but it is utterly difficult to achieve.”

Associated Press researcher Yu Bing contributed.

50 years after Nixon’s historic visit, China to be more connected with world ‘but US could be more isolated’

By  Yang ShengWang Wenwen and Yu Jincui

Published: Feb 21, 2022 11:57 PM

Monday marks the 50th anniversary of former US president Richard Nixon’s icebreaking historic visit to China, which kicked off the normalization process of the China-US ties and laid the foundation of the formal establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties in 1979. However, on this day, the atmosphere in China and the US is very different.

China has delivered its idea of “one world, one family” to show its sincerity in being and remaining  open and inclusive, as well as its determination to be and remain more connected with the world through a remarkable Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. But the US, or at least its mainstream media outlets and some political elites, are questioning Nixon’s decision to engage China, as they feel anxious about their unsuccessful strategy to compete with and contain China, with some of them trying to be as negative as possible in evaluating Beijing 2022, and many of them more interested in hyping concerns over war and the Ukraine crisis in continental Europe. 

China and the US have stepped on different paths since they formally engaged with each other, said Chinese analysts. In the past five decades, China has always sought to develop its ties with the rest of the world, and the normalization of China-US ties is a key part of this effort, and China has been empowered by the world, and also contributes significantly in handling common challenges shared by the international community. 

The US has greatly benefited from the normalization of China-US ties and emerged victorious in the Cold War, and has contributed a lot to the world by offering ideas, technologies and public goods, but it also refuses to stop seeking hegemony and tries to dominate the international order by force, and deals with China and Russia based on a hostile Cold War mentality.

Fifty years ago, during the Cold War era, China and the US both sensed the pressures and threats from the Soviet Union, and this became a key reason behind the handshakes between the leaders from two sides of the Pacific Ocean. But today, experts said, as China and Russia continue their close ties based on shared interests and views, it seems the US is the one walking on the path toward failure, just as the Soviet Union did: posing threats to the other two great powers at the same time; being aggressive in seeking hegemony or maintaining hegemony; trying to isolate the other two but eventually finding itself becoming isolated.

Wrong ideas

On the very day that marks Nixon’s historic visit, China announced sanctions against two US military industrial giants – Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Technologies Corp – over their arms sales to the island of Taiwan, which breaks the US promises over the Taiwan question made in the three China-US communiqués. 

Fifty years ago, in Shanghai on February 28, 1972, the two countries signed the Shanghai Communiqué before Nixon concluded his China visit. One of the crucial achievements of the document was the two sides reaching key agreements on the Taiwan question despite differences that had remained. 

The historic document “affirmed the one-China principle, which, along with the principles of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states, non-aggression against other states, non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence, constitutes the political foundation of normalization of relations and the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a routine press conference on Monday.

“The US arms sales to the Taiwan region of China seriously violate the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, especially the August 17 Communiqué,” Wang said.

Wang also said on the 50th anniversary of Nixon’s visit, “The root cause of the current problems in China-US relations is that some people in the US, based on a seriously misguided perception of China, regard China as a major strategic competitor or even an ‘imaginary enemy’ and want to contain China in all dimensions.”

A Beijing-based expert on international relations who asked for anonymity said that if some Americans believe that Nixon and Henry Kissinger were wrong “to open the door to China because it gave China the chance to challenge US hegemony” or the US got nothing good out of it, then “they are dead wrong.”

The normalization of China-US ties and the “semi-alliance relationship” that the two sides were believed to have established from 1979 to 1989 played a decisive role in ending the Cold War, and without having cooperation with China, the US wouldn’t have been able to end the Cold War in that way, and wouldn’t have been able to open such a huge market for US companies to earn huge profits, while in 2008, China also saved the US from the financial crisis by purchasing huge amounts of US bonds, he said. 

“How could some Americans say the engagement policy only benefits China? They don’t have gratitude and fail to keep promises, but are becoming more and more hostile, and they break promises and keep provoking us on core interests like Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and launched wars in the fields of trade, science and technologies, as well as media. If they still don’t know who should be blamed for the worsening bilateral ties, they are pretending to be blind,” the expert noted. 

Lü Xiang, an expert on US studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday that the US strategy is to prevent a great power from emerging in the Euro-Asia continent, so US strategists are still driven by such a mind-set, and those who believed it was correct for the US to engage with China 50 years ago may also support the idea of containing China today, because for these people, it’s always about maintaining US hegemony, not stable and friendly ties with China. 

Unlike their US counterparts, Chinese scholars are being honest by saying that China has benefited greatly from its ties with the US. Zhang Jiadong, a professor at the Center for American Studies, Fudan University, told the Global Times on Monday that “without Nixon’s visit and the change in the US’ China policy, China’s reform and opening-up would have been unimaginable. At that time, without healthy China-US ties, the attempt at reform and opening-up would have been groundless and meaningless.”

But today, “The US is no longer the path that China must pass through to connect itself with the world. Although China sincerely wants to repair ties with the US and continue making efforts to bring bilateral ties back on track, it’s impossible for China to abandon its principles, core interests and development rights just to maintain  ‘good’ ties with the US. So even if the US refuses to normalize the relationship, that’s fine. China can keep marching on, and this won’t stop China from deepening and expanding its connections with the rest of the whole world,” Lü said.

Normalization again?

There have always been some rational voices in the West, even under the current extremely tense atmosphere, as some Americans have sensed that without China-US cooperation, there are many challenges today that they are unlikely to solve on their own, and the danger of a China-US conflict would be unimaginable. 

Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, told the Global Times on Monday that “We [China and the US] should be restoring the spirit of cooperation.  That is hugely important for both countries and for the whole world, especially when we face so many shared challenges, such as the pandemic, climate change, pollution, loss of biodiversity, and persistent poverty in a world of wealth.”

“The difficulties lie in the misunderstandings between the two societies.  The US public and political leadership understand remarkably little about China’s great history and civilization.  This is a real loss.  The US attitude is also filled with arrogance, based on the idea that the US needs to be preeminent.  We don’t need dominance by any one country, but rather cooperation,” he said. 

Vince Cable, former business and industry minister of the UK, said during a recent debate at Oxford University on the ties between the West and China that the US needs to get used to a world in which it is no longer No.1 and respect China’s development to surpass America to become the biggest economy. 

“China has become a global and authoritative power. The United States has lost not only its former authority and influence in the world, but also a sense of responsibility for the fate of mankind,” Victor Larin, an academician and principal researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences, told the Global Times.

Wang Wenbin, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said that “an important inspiration from the Shanghai Communiqué and the 50th anniversary of president Nixon’s visit to China is that countries with different social systems and development paths can expand common interests and coexist peacefully as long as they adhere to mutual respect and seek common ground while shelving differences and pursue win-win cooperation.”

“We hope that the US side will work with China to draw experience and wisdom from the past 50 years, carry forward the spirit of the Shanghai Communiqué and bring China-US relations back onto the track of sound and steady development,” Wang noted.

Lü said, “We believe one day that China-US ties will be normalized again. By that time, the US will eventually accept a world order that is not dominated by Washington. But we hope this process will be peaceful. We need to stay alert to the fact that the decline of US hegemony could bring chaos and wars.”

NHK 50 years after Nixon’s historic visit to China, Beijing calls for better ties

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has called for improved ties with the US on the 50th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China.

At a news conference on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin reflected on Nixon’s visit on February 21, 1972. The trip led to the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1979.

Wang said that with Nixon visiting China 50 years ago, “China and the US had a historic handshake and ended the long estrangement between the two countries.”

Wang blamed the US for the current strain on relations.

Wang said some Americans see China “as a major strategic competitor or even an imaginary enemy and want to contain China in all dimensions.” He said this is based on a “seriously misguided perception of China.”

Wang said China has been pursuing development for the sake of improving the quality of life for its people, and that his country has no intention to “challenge or replace the US.”

Wang said China hopes that “the US side will work with China to draw experience and wisdom from the history of the past 50 years.” He said Beijing wants to see the bilateral ties brought “back onto the track of sound and steady development.”

China says both countries will hold a series of commemorative activities in the near future, but details have yet to be revealed.

Simone McCarthy

Nixon toasted to building bridges during historic China visit. Fifty years later, US-China relations are at an all-time low

When US President Richard Nixon walked down the red-carpeted stairs from Air Force One to shake hands with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai on a cold day in Beijing on February 21, 1972, it was hailed by many as a world-changing gesture.

Nixon’s arrival — the first time an American President had set foot on Chinese soil since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 — came after more than 20 years of hostility and almost no contact between the two countries.

The eight-day visit would open the door for the formation of diplomatic relations between the world’s richest country and its most populous. It would also reshape the world order as it was known: shifting the power dynamics of the Cold War and playing a part in China’s transition from impoverished isolation to its new role as a growing global power broker and economic partner to the United States.

But 50 years on, that milestone is likely to be marked by little fanfare from Beijing or Washington.

Instead, the anniversary of Nixon’s historic visit comes at a low point in US-China relations. Many in Washington now view China as a growing economic and military threat, while an increasingly assertive and nationalistic China under leader Xi Jinping has pushed back on what it sees as American interference in its affairs and region. Strained ties have narrowed leeway for cooperation — with the US even keeping its diplomats home from Beijing’s Olympics earlier this month in protest of China’s human rights record.

The self-governing island of Taiwan also remains a potential conflict area, with Beijing’s ambassador to Washington describing it earlier this year as the “biggest tinder-box” between the two sides.

As the 50th anniversary of Nixon’s visit approached, Beijing and Washington gave no indication major commemorations were in store, and any official activity will be a far cry from the 30th anniversary when then-President George W. Bush marked the occasion in a visit to Beijing.

Today’s subdued efforts contrast with the diplomatic fanfare surrounding the meeting 50 years ago, when Zhou, the skillful statesman of aging Chinese leader Chairman Mao Zedong, declared “the gate to friendly contact” had been opened as he toasted the American President, first lady and their entourage in an elaborate banquet in the Great Hall of the People.

“(Nixon’s visit) has to be one of the most important turning points in 20th century history — perhaps the most important in the post-World War II era,” said Scott Kennedy, senior adviser in Chinese Business and Economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington.

That one “could even envisage a meeting of the minds that would transform international politics” was remarkable, said Kennedy, pointing to gaping differences in ideology between the nations — China, as a Communist country in the midst of the Cultural Revolution, and a US that had been bent on containing the spread of Communism.

A diplomatic relationship with the US — formalized in 1979 — would also have vast implications for China, according to Suisheng Zhao, director of the Center for China-US Cooperation at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

“The US held the key for China’s modernization, so China benefited from this immensely…Without the US, I don’t think you would see China as a big power today,” he said.

Road to Shanghai

At the time, the visit was a phenomenon. Images beamed back to the US showing the American President touring the Great Wall with first lady Pat Nixon and reporters visiting “communes” in Beijing were some of the first most Americans had seen of Communist China.

American reporter Dan Rather, who was among a cohort of press accompanying the presidential delegation, later said in a documentary by the University of Southern California’s US-China Institute that traveling to China was like “leaving Earth and going deep into the cosmos of some distant planet.”

For the Chinese, the welcome of the American President — who appeared on the front page of the People’s Daily meeting with Mao — broke with years of anti-American propaganda.

“Mao and Nixon were total (ideological) opposites. It’s ironic that they reached the same conclusion at the same time to have a historical breakthrough in relations,” said Xu Guoqi, a professor of history at the University of Hong Kong (HKU).

The risks were high for both leaders. In China, the US was a recent enemy in the Korean War and a constant target of propaganda. The US was navigating a complex set of post-World War II relationships in Asia and would face questions from its allies.

The US had also since 1949 recognized a different government of China: the one led by General Chiang Kai-shek, who fled with his nationalist forces to the island of Taiwan after Mao’s Red Army took the upper hand in China’s Civil War.

The separation between Beijing and Washington was so great that even finding a channel of communication to broach the meeting was an exercise in trial and error — only coming to pass after help from a Pakistani President acting as an intermediary, Chinese goodwill toward a US ping pong team, and a secret 1971 trip to China by Nixon adviser Henry Kissinger.

But anti-Communist Nixon and Communist revolutionary Mao “were both very realistic leaders. They had concrete cards they needed to play,” said Xu.

A common enemy

For Nixon, these were recalibrating relations to help him extricate the US Army from the costly and unpopular Vietnam War. For Mao, there was an interest in gaining global recognition for his government over Chiang’s opposing claim from Taiwan.

But there was also a shared concern that helped propel both leaders into their meeting in 1972.

“The US and China were able to overcome their antipathy to reach this détente only because of their common foe — the Soviet Union,” said CSIS’s Kennedy. “Short of that, there would not have been this détente.”

Xu of HKU points to border conflicts that had emerged between the Communist neighbors: “(Mao) concluded that…he needed someone to help China deal with the Soviet Union,” he said.

In meetings that took place between touring the Great Wall, Ming Dynasty tombs, and the idyllic West Lake of Hangzhou, the two sides hammered out the final details of an agreement known as the Shanghai Communique.

In it, the US “acknowledged” in careful language “that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China.” Both sides agreed to work toward normalizing relations and reducing risks of conflict internationally. It would be the first of three major communiques in a decade to build the framework of the relationship.

After the diplomacy was done, Nixon gave a final toast during a banquet at Shanghai’s Jinjiang Hotel.

“If we can find common ground on which we can both stand, where we can build the bridge between us and build a new world, generations in the years ahead will look back and thank us for this meeting that we have held in this past week,” he said.

Détente over?

Five decades later, US-China ties have changed beyond recognition, becoming deeply intertwined in areas from economy to education.

But in recent years, mutual suspicion has grown, fanned in the US under the former presidency of Donald Trump, whose administration labeled China a “strategic competitor” in 2017 and in an increasingly assertive China under leader Xi Jinping.

“The combination of China being much more powerful and its identity being more conservative and nationalist has put us at loggerheads again, even though there are way more similarities between our societies than there were 50 years ago,” said Kennedy.

The US has balked not only at what it calls unfair economic practices, but also decried Beijing’s crackdown on freedoms in Hong Kong, labeled its treatment of Uyghur and other Muslim minorities in the country’s far western region of Xinjiang a genocide, and strengthened its unofficial relationship with the now-democratically governed Taiwan amid increased aggression from Beijing.

China, meanwhile, has denied rights violations, rebuked what it calls American meddling in its internal affairs and said the US is “playing with fire on the Taiwan issue.”

In a video meeting between US President Joe Biden and Xi in November, widely seen as a chance to reset relations, Biden stressed the need for “guardrails to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict.” The two sides agreed to keep in close communication on global issues, but staying tough on China has become a rare bipartisan issue in a politically divided US.

In a faxed response to a request for comment on commemorations of the 50th anniversary, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry on Friday told CNN the countries “should follow the spirit and consensus” of that video meeting, to “strengthen communication, manage differences, advance cooperation and bring China-US relations back to the track of steady development.”

“The valuable historical experience embodied in President Nixon’s visit to China and the issuance of the Shanghai Communique are of great practical significance to the development of China-US relations at present,” the spokesperson said, adding that China and the US would “hold a series of commemorative activities in the near future” with details to be released “in due course.”

University of Denver’s Zhao said today’s diplomacy could take note from the smart maneuvering from both sides in Nixon’s era. “Today we don’t have such diplomats, only warriors…both sides try to win. Of course you can win, but you have to give and take, that’s diplomacy.”

“For two big powers like China and the US, you have no choice but to work together,” he said.

Kennedy points to another complexity — the growing relationship between Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who earlier this month pledged no “forbidden” areas in their cooperation.

“In some ways, (Xi and Putin’s) announcement in Beijing is a bookend to the Shanghai Communique issued 50 years prior…we have reached the end of that strategy and that period by the fact that Russia and China are now clearly much closer to each other than either one of them is to the US,” said Kennedy.

That may be one reason why any celebrations that do happen in either capital will be “highly muted,” he said. “For some, it will simply be about nostalgia.”

— CNN’s Beijing bureau contributed reporting

Commentary: Drawing wisdom, strength from China-U.S. “ice-breaking” history

(Xinhua) 14:50, February 21, 2022

BEIJING, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) — On Feb. 21, 1972, then U.S. President Richard Nixon visited China upon invitation, embarking on an “ice-breaking” journey attracting attention worldwide. During his visit, China and the United States reached an important consensus on principles for handling bilateral relations and published the Shanghai Communique, a major step forward in normalizing bilateral relations.

Looking back at history, the most fundamental reason why China and the United States were able to make the handshake across the Pacific Ocean was that both sides adhered to the principle of mutual respect and sought common ground while shelving differences.

With the future in mind, China and the United States should draw wisdom and strength from their “ice-breaking” history to bring ties back on track and work for the sound and steady development of bilateral relations.

As China and the United States are two major countries with different political systems and cultural backgrounds, it is normal to have divergences. This is the reality the two sides realized 50 years ago. However, for some time, certain U.S. politicians have viewed China-U.S. relations from a zero-sum game perspective and stirred up troubles unilaterally, making bilateral ties extremely difficult.

Hyping up ideological antagonism is an obvious infringement of the original intention of developing China-U.S. relations. Only by transcending divergences and seeking common interests can the two countries accord with the trend of history and the general expectations of the international community.

As both China and the United States have undergone tremendous changes over the past 50 years, it is imperative to view each other from a correct perspective for the two sides to continue co-existing peacefully. Whatever development stage China is in, China’s goal has never been to threaten other countries. Instead, it aims to bring a better life to its people and promote the common development of all nations.

Some U.S. politicians who hype up the rhetoric of containment and competition against China are merely driven by the “anxiety disorder” from seeking hegemony. Such a practice won’t help solve the problems faced by the United States and will only damage the interests of both countries and the world at large.

History and reality have fully proven that China and the United States stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. They can get many things done for the good of the two countries and the whole world when they cooperate with each other.

The multiple challenges faced by humanity demand cooperation among all countries, particularly China and the United States. As the two largest economies in the world and permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, China and the United States shoulder the major responsibilities for world peace, development and stability.

Under the current circumstances, the two countries should demonstrate a sense of responsibility, strengthen cooperation, and work with all countries to address the challenges and to inject more certainties and positive energy into a world witnessing many turbulences and changes.

History is the best textbook. Only by learning from the past can China and the United States make a better future for bilateral relations. 

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Liang Jun)

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