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Timeline: Nixon's China Game

1945 - 1949 |  1950 - 1954 |  1955 - 1959 |  1960 - 1964 |  1965 - 1969 |  1970 - 1974 |  1975 - 1979 

Highlights: 1950-1954
  • U.S. blocks proposal to admit PRC to United Nations
  • North Korea invades South Korea
  • U.S., then China, enters Korean War
  • UN brands PRC an agressor nation
  • U.S. trade embargo on China
  • First Taiwan Strait crisis
  • U.S. signs mutual defense treaty with Taiwan
1950 1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953 | 1954
Jan. 5 President Truman announces that the United States is determined to stay out of the Chinese civil war and will 'not provide military aid or advice to Chinese forces' on Taiwan. This policy is reiterated January 12 by Secretary of State Dean Acheson.
Jan. 10 After the United States announces that it will block a Soviet proposal to give China's U.N. seat to the P.R.C., the Soviet delegate stages a walkout.

Jan. 13 Soviet resolution to grant the P.R.C. admission to the United Nations is defeated.The U.S.S.R. delegate stages a second walkout, announcing a Soviet boycott of the Security Council until it ousts the Nationalist Chinese delegate and seats Beijing.

Jan. 14 Chinese Communists seize the U.S. consulate in Beijing, culminating a series of anti-American actions, including the arrest and beating of a U.S. vice consul in July 1949, and the nearly two-month arrest and detention of U.S. consul general Angus Ward in October 1949.

Feb. 9 Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) makes first of several charges that Communists are at work within the U.S. State Department.
Feb. 14 Mao Tse-tung signs the Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance with the Soviet Union, which provides China with a semblance of security against American attack.
Jun. 25 North Korea, evidently with Soviet approval, launches an early morning surprise invasion of South Korea.

Jun. 27 President Truman orders U.S. air and naval forces to defend South Korea, and sends the U.S. Seventh Fleet to the Taiwan Strait to protect Taiwan against attack.

Jun. 28 Chou En-lai denounces Truman's decision to send the U.S. Seventh Fleet into the Taiwan Strait as "armed aggression against the territory of China," adding that "the fact that Taiwan is part of China will remain unchanged forever."

Sep. 19 P.R.C. is barred once again from taking China's seat in the U.N. General Assembly.

Sep. 30 Chou En-lai warns that China will not stand idly by if "the imperialists wantonly invade the territory of North Korea."Two days later, he formally notifies the Indian ambassador to China that if the U.S. enters North Korea, China will intervene.

Oct. 1 South Korean troops cross the 38th parallel into North Korea.

Oct. 7 U.S. troops, led by General Douglas MacArthur, cross the 38th parallel into North Korea.

Nov. 2 Chinese troops attack U.S. forces on both western and eastern fronts. U.S. forces withdraw.

Nov. 26 As U.N. troops, led by General MacArthur, approach Korea's northern border, Chinese troops enter the war in force, driving MacArthur south of the 38th parallel.

Dec. 8 U.S. Commerce Department announces a total trade embargo on China. It will remain in place for 21 years.

1951 1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953 | 1954
Feb. 1 At the urging of the United States, the U.N. General Assembly adopts a resolution branding China an aggressor in the Korea conflict.

Apr. 11 General Douglas MacArthur is dismissed by President Truman from all commands in East Asia after repeatedly ignoring White House orders not to publicly demand that the war be expanded against Communist China.

Apr. 21 U.S. Defense Department announces the appointment of a Military Assistance Advisory Group for Taiwan, on whose recommendation the U.S. resumes direct military aid to the Nationalists.

May 18 Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs Dean Rusk sets the tone for U.S.-China policy for the next two decades when he states, "The regime in Peiping [Beijing] . . . is not the government of China. . . . We recognize the national government of the Republic of China, [which will] . . .continue to receive important aid and assistance from the United States."

U.N. unanimously adopts a U.S.-sponsored resolution calling for "every state" in the world to withhold arms or strategic materials from Communist China.

July 10 Truce talks begin between U.S.-led delegation and North Korean-Chinese Communist representatives.

1952 1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953 | 1954
Jul. 10 Korean truce talks enter second year.

1953 1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953 | 1954
Feb. 2 In his State of the Union message, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announces that he is "issuing instructions that the Seventh Fleet no longer be employed to shield Communist China" from possible attack by Nationalist forces, adding that" we certainly have no obligation to protect a nation fighting us in Korea."

Feb. 12 Chiang Kai-shek declares that Nationalist forces could attack Communist China at any time without U.N. sanction or fear of Soviet intervention.

Jul. 27 Korean War armistice signed.

Sep. 2 Secretary of State Dulles warns that if China renews the Korean conflict or sends Communist forces into Indochina, U.S. might declare war against the mainland.

1954 1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953 | 1954
Aug. 11 Chou En-lai urges a Communist "liberation" of Taiwan, warning that "foreign aggressors" who intervene will face "grave consequences."

Sep. 3 Chinese Communists begin shelling the small Nationalist-held offshore island of Jinmen (Quemoy) in the Taiwan Strait, and the Nationalists return fire.The next day, Secretary of State Dulles orders the U.S. Seventh Fleet back to the Strait. Four days later, the Nationalists begin large-scale air strikes against the Chinese mainland.

Sep. 8 U.S. joins seven other countries in signing a regional defense treaty, establishing the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).

Dec. 2 The United States enters into a mutual defense treaty with the Republic of China, pledging American support for Taiwan against any attack from mainland China. In response, the ROC makes clear that it will not attack mainland China without first consulting the United States.

Dec. 8 Chou En-lai warns that the U.S. will face "grave consequences" if it does not withdraw all military forces from Taiwan, adding that Chinese "liberation" of Taiwan "is entirely in the purview of China's sovereignty and a purely internal affair of China."

1945 - 1949 |  1950 - 1954 |  1955 - 1959 |  1960 - 1964 |  1965 - 1969 |  1970 - 1974 |  1975 - 1979 

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