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1975   1976   1977   1978   1979
April 4
New York Times reports that the State Department has "postponed indefinitely" the U.S. visit of a Chinese singing troupe because they refused to drop a song from their repertoire calling for the liberation of Taiwan.China protests the decision as a violation of the 1972 Shanghai Communiqué.
April 5 Chiang Kai-shek dies.

April 10 In a foreign policy address to Congress, President Ford reiterates U.S. commitment to the Shanghai Communiqué, but promises no new moves toward formal recognition of China.

April 29 Final U.S. personnel are evacuated from Saigon.

April 30 South Vietnam falls to North Vietnam. Communist troops take over Saigon the same day.

May 2 China stages a rally, attended by most major Chinese leaders, to celebrate the Communist victory in Vietnam.
Late May United States withdraws its last squadron of combat aircraft from Taiwan.

May 23 Head of Liaison Office in Beijing George Bush sends a secret memo to President Ford, warning that breaking relations with Taiwan could become "a major weapon for your opponents be they Republican or Democrat."

August 6-29 Two U.S. congressional delegations visit China and are received by Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping.

September 28 Kissinger informs Chinese Foreign Minister Qiao Guanhua that normalization cannot be completed during President Ford's visit to China later that year.The Chinese are furious.

October 14 China accuses the U.S. of "undisguised interference in China's internal affairs" by supporting Tibetans seeking the exiled Dalai Lama's return to Tibet.

December 1 President Ford arrives in Beijing for a five-day visit with Chinese leaders. The visit is cordial, but produces no official joint communiqué, leaving future Sino-American relations unclear.

December 7 On his return from Asia, President Ford proclaims the Pacific Doctrine, which calls for normalization of relations with China and economic cooperation throughout Asia.

1975   1976   1977   1978   1979
January 8 Chou En-lai dies.
February 7 Vice Premier and security minister Hua Guofeng becomes acting Premier.

February 21 Richard Nixon arrives in Beijing, at China's invitation, for a nine-day visit, during which he meets with Mao Tse-tung. The visit is a clear demonstration of China's disenchantment with President Ford.

April 5 Riots erupt at a mass demonstration in Tiananmen Square in memory of Chou En-lai, as supporters of the radical "Gang of Four" fight supporters of the more moderate Deng Xiaoping.

April 7 Chinese Communist Party formally names Hua Guofeng as China's new Premier. The same day, Deng Xiaoping, Chou's heir apparent, is stripped of all his Party positions.

June 23 Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter recommends establishing full diplomatic relations with China.

July 15 Jimmy Carter receives the Democratic presidential nomination. The Democratic Party platform promises "movement" on China.

August 19 Gerald Ford receives the Republican Party presidential nomination. The Republican Party platform states that improvements in U.S.-China relations "cannot realistically proceed at a forced or incautious pace."

September 9 Mao Tse-tung dies.
October 6 Radical "Gang of Four" are arrested in China, removing from power those leaders most strongly opposed to China's ties with the United States, and opening the way for the return to power of the more moderate Deng Xiaoping.

October 6 In a televised debate with Jimmy Carter, President Ford stresses U.S. obligations to Taiwan and restates that improvements in Sino-American relations should not be rushed. Jimmy Carter charges that the "great opportunity" opened by Nixon in 1972 "pretty well has been frittered away under Mr. Ford."

November 2 Jimmy Carter elected president by a small margin.
December 2 Huang Hua replaces Qiao Guanhua as China's new foreign minister. The same day, the Communist Party Central Committee announces the new leadership will follow Mao Tse-tung's policies on international relations.

1975   1976   1977   1978   1979
February 8 President Carter meets with Chinese Liaison officer Huang Zhen, expresses a desire for closer Sino-American relations, and reaffirms the Shanghai Communiqué.

May 1 U.S. officials reveal that the U.S. and China resumed talks in April to resolve financial claims blocking increased Sino-American trade and the opening of full diplomatic relations.Similar talks held in 1973 and 1975 ended in deadlock.

May 12 At a press conference, President Carter states that "we don't want to see the Taiwan people punished or attacked and if we can resolve this major difficulty, I would move expeditiously to normalizing relations with China."

June 29 & 30 The U.S. outlines terms for normalizing relations with China, including: that the U.S. recognizes that there is only one China, whose government is in Beijing, and that Taiwan is a province of China; that the U.S. would sever diplomatic and treaty ties with the Republic of China on Taiwan; and that the U.S. stresses the peaceful settlement of the Taiwan issue by the Chinese themselves, but insists on guarantees from Beijing that it will not use military force against Taiwan.

July 4 Chinese Vice Premier Li Xiannian tells retired U.S. chief of naval operations Admiral Elmo Zumwalt that the Chinese want normalization of relations with the U.S., but will not abandon its right to use force in Taiwan.Li reiterates the three Chinese conditions for normalization: severance of U.S. diplomatic ties with Taiwan; withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Taiwan; and abrogation of the U.S.-Taiwan mutual defense treaty.

July 7 Washington Star, quoting Carter administration sources, reports that President Carter has decided to delay full normalization with China at least until 1978.

August 22 Secretary of State Cyrus Vance arrives in Beijing for talks with Chinese leaders. While Vance would only call the talks "useful," President Carter later calls them a "very important step" toward normalization.

September 6 Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping calls the recent Cyrus Vance visit a setback to normalizing Sino-American relations, and denies that the Chinese promised not to use force to settle the Taiwan issue.

September 20 Six-days of hearings open before the House Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, to discuss how to recognize Beijing while maintaining relations, formal or informal, with Taipei.

October 23 New York Times reports that the State Department is blocking a proposed American visit by the Tibetan Dalai Lama so as not to irritate China.

1975   1976   1977   1978   1979
May 20 National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski arrives in Beijing for meetings with Chinese leaders, during which he makes clear that the U.S. is prepared to enter serious talks about the remaining obstacles to normalizing Sino-American relations.

September 19 President Carter meets with Chai Zemin, head of China's Liaison Office in Washington, and lists U.S. preconditions for normalization of relations: continuation of U.S. commercial and cultural ties with Taiwan; peaceful resolution of China-Taiwan dispute; continued U.S. sale of defensive arms to Taiwan after normalization of U.S.-Sino relations.

November 4 U.S. secretly sends draft proposal on opening full diplomatic relations to Beijing.

November 25 Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping publicly states his desire to visit Washington.The White House takes this as a signal that the Chinese are eager to reach agreement on opening full diplomatic relations with the U.S.

December 4 China secretly sends draft proposal on opening full diplomatic relations to Washington.

December 11 U.S. secretly invites Deng Xiaoping to visit the U.S. He accepts the next day.

December 15 P.R.C. and U.S. issue joint communiqué announcing that they will initiate full diplomatic relations on January 1, 1979 and that the U.S. will sever formal relations with Taiwan, end its mutual defense treaty with Taiwan, and withdraw all U.S. forces from the island.

1975   1976   1977   1978 1979   
January 1 U.S. and China establish full diplomatic relations.

April 10 President Carter signs the Taiwan Relations Act, which legalizes new U.S. relationship with Taiwan.Under the bill, the U.S. essentially continues to treat Taiwan as an independent nation, sell it arms, lend it money, recognize its passports and grant its diplomats immunity from U.S. law.

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