Sino-US Relations via Diplomatic Briefs 1970-1984

By. Caleb Apperson


Timeline 1: Sino-US Relations via Diplomatic Briefs


Summary: During the 1970s, former President Richard Nixon visited the People’s Republic of China and signed the Shanghai Communique, which was the first formal diplomatic negotiation since the founding of the PRC in 1949. Previously, up until 1971, the United Nations recognized the Republic of China in Taiwan as a UN Security Council representative for mainland China, but this soon changed after Nixon established the Shanghai Communique and sought to increase trade with the PRC. Nixon also hoped to put a quick end to the Vietnam War while China desired support for its resistance toward the Soviet Union (1922-1991).


1970: Letter from President Nixon to Chiang Kai-Shek (Generalissimo of the ROC from 1928-1975)

What Concerns did Nixon address in his response letter to Chiang Kai-Shek?


1969-1976 (Undated): Major General Vernon A. Walters (Prsidential aide, interpreter, and cross-cultural communicator from 1972-1976) message to the PRC

Purpose of letter?


1973: Letter to Premier Zhou Enlai (First Premier of the PRC from 1954-1976)

Why was it written? For what purpose?

  • To better US relations with the PRC



During the 1980s, China began to undergo rapid economic development with the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the early 1980s. SEZs were designed to attract foreign investors by exempting them from taxes and regulations. Overtime, SEZs experienced incredible success as they expanded to the eastern coast of China. It was also at this time that President Reagan and Department of State Officials began to deepend US-China relations via diplomatic trips and communication. 


1983: Second Meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wu Xueqian (1987-1992)


1983: Your Meeting with Deng Xiaoping (Chairman of the PRC from 1904-1997)

Why was it written?

1984: President Reagan’s trip to the People’s Republic of China

What did the brief do?