Richard Nixon & Ronald Reagan Talk About China and the United Nations (1971)




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October 25, 1971 Relations between the Western powers and Eastern Bloc changed dramatically in the early 1970s. In 1960, the People’s Republic of China publicly split from its main ally, the Soviet Union, in the Sino-Soviet Split. As tension along the border between the two communist nations reached its peak in 1969 and 1970, Nixon decided to use their conflict to shift the balance of power towards the West in the Cold War. Nixon had begun entreating China a mere month into office by sending covert messages of rapprochement through Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania and Yahya Khan of Pakistan in December 1970. He reduced many trade restrictions between the two countries, and silenced anti-China voices within the White House. In April 1971, the Chinese table tennis team invited the American table tennis team to attend a demonstration competition for a week in China. The invitation came upon the order of Mao Zedong himself, who had taken note of Nixon’s “subtle overtures” to improve US-Chinese relations, including the conflict in Pakistan. This was significant in that the fifteen-member table tennis team were allowed to enter mainland China after a period of over twenty years in which Americans, except on very rare occasions, had been denied visas (the term “ping pong diplomacy” arose from this encounter). Chinese Premier Chou En-lai, through Pakistani intermediaries, had relayed a message to Nixon reading: “The Chinese government reaffirms its willingness to receive publicly in

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One Response to “Richard Nixon & Ronald Reagan Talk About China and the United Nations (1971)”

  • wonkacorp:

    Nixon listening…rare…usually he talks, and talks over people. Either a) he is interested in Reagan’s views or b) he is trying to placate the right wing of his party. I think the latter, as he doesn’t respond other than ”let me give some thought” to this.

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