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Nixon's China Game | Timeline

Timeline

1945
Jun. 26: Delegates to the United Nations organizing conference sign the U.N. Charter, which makes the United States, Republic of China, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, and France permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. 

Aug. 6 & 9: The U.S. drops atomic bombs on Japan thus opening the nuclear age.

Aug. 14: Japan surrenders to Allies, ending World War II.
China and U.S.S.R. sign Treaty of Friendship and Alliance, pledging mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs for 30 years.

Aug. 28: Chinese Communist leader Mao Tse-tung and U.S. Ambassador to China Patrick Hurley enter talks with Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek over long-standing Communist-Nationalist struggle for control of China. 

Oct. 10: Nationalists and Communists issue joint statement of agreement, but fighting by both sides renders the agreement invalid within two weeks. 

Nov. 27: Hurley resigns to protest U.S. decision to end military aid to Chiang Kai-shek.Hurley also charges that pro-Communist State Department officials have undermined U.S. efforts to resolve the Communist-Nationalist conflict. 

Dec. 22: Marshall arrives in Chongqing to try to get the Communists and Nationalists to agree to a cease-fire and enter into a coalition government. 

1946
Jan. 10: A truce is reached between Communists and Nationalists, but fighting soon resumes. 

Jun. 7-30: Temporary truce between Communists and Nationalists. 

Jul. 1: Chinese civil war resumes. 

Oct. 1: Marshall informs President Chiang Kai-shek that he would recommend the ending of U.S. mediation efforts to President Truman unless "a basis for agreement is found . . . without further delay." 

Oct. 21: Peace talks resume in Nanjing. 

Nov. 8: Chiang Kai-shek orders Nationalist cease-fire. 

Nov. 19: Negotiations between Communists and Nationalists end. By the end of November, heavy fighting has resumed.   

1947
Jan. 7: Marshall returns to U.S. to become secretary of state after more than a year of failed mediation efforts in China. 

Jan. 29: United States announces end to its mediation efforts in China, and immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops.   

1948
Apr. 2: After supporting the Nationalist military since the 1930s, U.S. sharply cuts aid because of widespread corruption.   

1949
Jan. 23: Beijing falls to the Communists after a month-long siege. 

Jun. 15: With the Communists in control of several major cities, Mao Tse-tung states that he is willing to discuss establishing diplomatic relations with any foreign government, on "the basis of the principles of equality, mutual benefit, and mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty." 

Jun. 24: Twenty-one senators send a letter to President Truman urging him not to recognize the Chinese Communist regime. 

Aug. 5: State Department issues 1054-page White Paper detailing U.S. policy toward China from 1944 to 1949 to counter Republican charges that the Truman administration "lost" China to the Communists. 

Oct. 1: Inauguration of People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) with Chou En-lai as premier and foreign minister, and Mao Tse-tung as chief of state and Communist Party chairman. 

Oct. 2: U.S.S.R. recognizes the P.R.C. and severs relations with the Nationalist government.All other Soviet-bloc countries soon follow suit. 

Dec. 8-10: Chiang Kai-shek and Nationalist officials flee mainland China for the nearby island of Taiwan, where they install the exiled government of the Republic of China. 

1950
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
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
Jul. 10: Korean truce talks enter second year. 

1953
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
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." 

1955
Jan.: Chinese Communists attack Nationalist-held islands in the Taiwan Strait. Nationalists respond by bombing Communist shipping along the China coast. 

Jan. 24: Chou En-lai reiterates his intention to invade Taiwan.

Jan. 29: President Eisenhower signs the Formosa Resolution, threatening U.S. military intervention in the Taiwan Strait crisis. 

Feb. 7: Nationalist troops begin withdrawal from Dachen Islands with assistance of the U.S. Seventh Fleet. 

Mar. 8: In a nationally televised address, Secretary of State Dulles warns China not to underestimate U.S. determination to meet aggression in East Asia, adding that the U.S. could employ "new and powerful weapons of precision." 

Apr. 8: In an article in Foreign Affairs, Arthur H. Dean, a U.S. negotiator in the Korean armistice talks and former law partner of Secretary of State Dulles, advocates U.S. recognition of Communist China. 

Apr. 23: Chou En-lai states that Communist China does not want war with the United States and is willing to negotiate with the U.S. government. The U.S. responds that it would agree to negotiations if Nationalist China participates in the discussion as equals. 

Aug. 1: U.S. and China begin first ambassadorial talks aimed at improving Sino-American relations. The talks secure the release of American POWs and spies in China and Chinese scientists detained in U.S. during Korean War. The talks, held first in Geneva, and after 1958, in Warsaw, continue on and off until 1972. They are the only point of direct contact between Beijing and Washington for 16 years.

1956
Feb. 14: Soviet Party leader Nikita Khrushchev, in a speech at the 20th Soviet Party Congress, states that war with "capitalist imperialism" is no longer necessary and that "peaceful coexistence" is preferred.

May 12: Chou En-lai proposes meeting with Secretary of State Dulles to discuss Taiwan and other problems.

Jun. 12: Dulles rejects Chinese offer of discussions because of short notice and because 13 captured Americans are still imprisoned in China. 

Aug. 7: One day after the Chinese government offers visas to 15 U.S. newsmen who had requested them, the U.S. State Department announces that it will continue to bar travel to China as long as it holds American "political hostages." 

1957
Jun. 25: Eleanor Roosevelt reveals that the State Department has denied her permission to travel to China and interview Chinese leaders. 

Aug. 22: Secretary of State Dulles authorizes 24 news organizations to send correspondents to China for a seven-month trial period, but will not issue reciprocal visas to Chinese newsmen. 

Aug. 25: The Chinese People's Daily denounces the State Department's plan as "completely unacceptable to the Chinese people." 

Oct. 15: Soviet Union signs secret agreement with China to help the Chinese develop nuclear capability. 

Oct.: In Foreign Affairs, Senator John F. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) calls for a new foreign policy toward China, calling current U.S. policy "exaggeratedly military" and "probably too rigid." 

Dec. 12: U.S. suspends on-again off-again Geneva talks with China.

1958
May 18: Americans for Democratic Action calls for negotiations toward diplomatic recognition of Communist China "as a means of establishing the normal channels of communication between the two nations." 

Jun. 13: China's first atomic reactor, built with Russian help, begins operating. 

Jul. 22: China announces the start of a campaign to "liberate" Taiwan and begins building up forces opposite the island. 

Aug. 23: Four years after the first Taiwan Strait crisis, Communist forces begin intensive shelling of the Nationalist-held islands off the Chinese mainland. 

Sep. 4: Chinese Communists lay claim to all waters within 12 miles of its coasts, including the islands of Jinmen (Quemoy), Mazu (Matsu) and other Nationalist-held islands in those waters. The same day, John Foster Dulles issues a statement that the U.S. "would not hesitate" to use armed force "in insuring the defense of" Taiwan. 

Sep. 6: Chinese Premier Chou En-lai proposes resumption of Sino-U.S. ambassadorial talks to discuss the Taiwan crisis. The U.S. agrees to talks the same day. 

Sep. 8: President Eisenhower receives a letter from Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev warning that an attack on China would be "an attack on the Soviet Union." 

Sep. 15: U.S. and Communist Chinese ambassadors to Poland open talks on the Taiwan Strait crisis in Warsaw. While no formal agreement over the Taiwan Strait islands is reached, the crisis subsides over the next several weeks.

1959
Jun. 20: The Soviet Union annuls its secret October 1957 promise to help China develop a nuclear arsenal. 

Dec. 7: Rockefeller Report on future U.S. foreign policy needs calls for improved relations with the Chinese people, while acknowledging China's hostile stance towards the U.S. 

1960
Apr. 16: In a Communist Party journal, Beijing attacks the Soviet leadership as "revisionist," in the first public indication of a Sino-Soviet split. 

May 23: The "Liberal Project," a group of House members, scholars and scientists, releases a study advocating opening direct communications with Beijing and withdrawing U.S. opposition to U.N. membership for the P.R.C.. 

Jun. 16: The Committee of One Million Against the Admission of Communist China to the United Nations calls on the American public to support its campaign opposing concessions to the Beijing government. 

Jun. 18: In a visit to Taiwan, President Eisenhower tells a rally, "The United States does not recognize the claim of the warlike and tyrannical Communist regime in Beijing to speak for all the Chinese people. In the United Nations we support the Republic of China, a founding member, as the only rightful representative of China in that organization." 

Jul. 16: Moscow recalls thousands of Soviet advisers from China and cancels economic and military aid to the P.R.C.

1961
Mar. 7: Sino-American ambassadorial talks in Warsaw resume.

Aug: President Kennedy secretly promises Chiang Kai-shek that the U.S. will veto any U.N. decision to seat the Beijing government, and agrees to cooperate with Chiang's forces in covert operations against the mainland. 

Dec. 1: Debate in U.N. General Assembly on whether to admit the P.R.C., the first time since 1950 that the question of China's admission makes it to the General Assembly. 

Dec. 15: U.N. General Assembly rejects a Soviet resolution to admit the P.R.C. to the U.N. and expel Nationalist China. 

1962
Feb. 24: Beijing warns that U.S. military action in South Vietnam is "a direct threat" to North Vietnam, and therefore "seriously affects the security of China and the peace of Asia." 

Jun. 20: Third Taiwan Strait Crisis:Following a Nationalist troop buildup on the Jinmen and Mazu islands in the Taiwan Strait, Chinese Communists begin massing troops and military equipment on the mainland opposite the islands. Three days later, Beijing puts its citizens on alert for an invasion by the Nationalists.

Jun. 26: U.S. ambassador to Warsaw receives instructions to secretly assure the Chinese that the U.S. will not support "any Nationalist attempt to invade the mainland."Publicly, President Kennedy tells newsmen the next day that the U.S. would "take the action necessary" to defend Taiwan and the offshore islands from Communist attack.

Oct. 22-28: Cuban Missile Crisis:In a proclamation establishing a naval blockade of Cuba, President Kennedy states that world peace and the security of the Western Hemisphere are "endangered by reason of the establishment by the Sino-Soviet powers of an offensive military capability in Cuba."The crisis ends when Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev ordered the dismantling of the missile bases and removal of Soviet missiles from Cuba.

1963
Jun. 10: President Kennedy states in a commencement address that it is time for a re-examination of American ideas about the Soviet Union and the Cold War, the first time since World War II that a U.S. president suggests the possibility of friendship with the Soviets.

Jul. 5: Sino-Soviet talks begin in Moscow to discuss the widening split between Moscow and Beijing over ideological differences. On July 21, both countries issued a joint statement that the talks have ended, and that the delegations have failed to reach any agreement except to recess. 

Aug. 1: In a news conference, President Kennedy states that China, with its population of 700 million, its nuclear potential, and "a government determined on war as a means of bringing about its ultimate success," might pose "a more dangerous situation than any we have faced since the end of the Second World War." 

Aug. 5: The United States, Soviet Union and Britain sign a treaty prohibiting nuclear testing in the atmosphere, underwater, or in outer space. The week before, the Chinese had publicly denounced the test-ban treaty as "a big fraud to fool the people of the world." 

Sep. 6: First of a nine-part series on the Sino-Soviet split, published in the Beijing People's Dailyand in a Communist Party journal, blames the serious, but not yet irreparable split on the Soviets.The series runs through July 13, 1964. 

Sep. 21: In an article in Izvestia, the Soviet government charges that the Chinese have "systematically" violated the Sino-Soviet border since 1960, warning a "decisive rebuff" if China continues its "hostile activities." 

Oct. 28: Chinese Foreign Minister Chen Yi publicly states that it will be several years before China begins testing nuclear weapons, and many years before China can be considered a nuclear power. 

Dec. 13: Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs Roger Hilsman reveals that the U.S. has "no reason to believe that there is a present likelihood that the [Chinese] Communist regime will be overthrown," and implies that the U.S. is ready to coexist with Communist China while maintaining its commitments to the Nationalists on Taiwan.

1964
Jan. 27: Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara tells the House Armed Services Committee that because the Sino-Soviet split has led to major cutbacks of Soviet military aid, China will not undertake any major military campaigns in 1964, but "will certainly continue to support subversion and insurrection in Southeast Asia and will attempt to gain control of revolutionary movements elsewhere in the world."

Mar. 17: The U.S. pledges "to furnish assistance and support to South Vietnam for as long as it is required to bring Communist aggression and terrorism under control."

May 3: In response to questions from Western reporters, Chinese Foreign Minister Chen Yi states that the initiative for better Sino-American relations would have to come from the United States, and that China could only wait for U.S. recognition and the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Taiwan.

Jul. 6: Chen Yi warns that an attack on North Vietnam would threaten China's security, and that "the Chinese people naturally cannot be expected to look on with folded arms."

Aug. 7: Following reports of North Vietnamese attacks on U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin, Congress overwhelmingly passes the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, approving President Johnson's request for authority to bomb North Vietnam and widen U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. 

Sep. 15: President Johnson, Secretary of State Rusk, Defense Secretary McNamara, and National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy meet to decide whether to make a preemptive strike against China's nuclear installations. 

Oct. 16: China successfully explodes its first atomic bomb. 

1965
Feb. 15: In a Communist Party journal, Beijing attacks the Soviet leadership as "revisionist," in the first public indication of a Sino-Soviet split. 

Mar. 2: United States and South Vietnam join in heaviest air strikes so far against North Vietnam.Six days later, the first U.S. combat troops arrive in South Vietnam. 

Mar. 15: Richard Nixon declares that the Vietnam conflict is a de facto war between the U.S. and China: "A United States defeat in Vietnam means a [Chinese] Communist victory." 

Mar. 25: An article in the Beijing People's Daily announces that China will "join the people of the whole world in sending all necessary material aid, including arms and other war materials" to South Vietnam, adding that China is ready to send "our own men whenever the South Vietnamese people want them, to fight together with the South Vietnamese people to annihilate the United States aggressors."But most evidence indicated that Mao was preparing for a vast internal program, and was reluctant to become engaged in Vietnam. 

Apr. 2: Buildup of U.S. troops and aid in South Vietnam, and National Security Council decision to increase number and intensity of air strikes on North Vietnam. 

Apr. 9: Chinese and American jets clash over the South China Seas. 

Jun. 30: U.S. Agency for International Development announces the end of U.S. non-military aid to Nationalist China.The U.S. had given $1.5 billion in economic aid to Taiwan over the previous ten years. Military aid to the Nationalists would continue. 

Jul. 17: The Chinese Xinhua news agency reports that China will send "equipment, whole sets of installations, and supplies in the national defense and economics fields" to North Vietnam.The previous week, similar promises of aid were also made by the Soviet Union and North Korea. 

Jul. 28: President Johnson announces an increase in troops to Vietnam from the current 75,000 to 125,000. 

Nov. 10: China's Cultural Revolution begins. 

Dec. 20: Premier Chou En-lai warns that if the U.S. decides on "going along the road of war expansion and having another trial of strength with the Chinese people," China will "take up the challenge and fight to the end." 

1966
Mar. 8-30: Concerned that China might intervene in the widening Vietnam conflict, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee begins hearings on the need for a new policy toward mainland China.With virtually every major U.S. China scholar testifying, the near-unanimous opinion is that the U.S. should probably continue to "contain" China, but should also increase cultural, educational and technical contacts with the P.R.C.. 

Mar. 20: At a monthly meeting in Warsaw, the U.S. reassures Chinese delegates that, despite its buildup in Vietnam, it has no plans to invade China.

Apr. 10: In an effort to defuse Sino-U.S. tension, Premier Chou En-lai states that "China will not take the initiative to provoke war with the United States," but cautions that China will support any government which "meets with aggression by the imperialists." 

Apr. 12: U.S. stages first B-52 bomber raids over North Vietnam.

Jun. 16: Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-Montana) calls for an "initiative for a direct contact between the Beijing government and our own government on the problem of peace in Vietnam and Southeast Asia."

Jul. 3: In a visit to Taiwan, Secretary of State Dean Rusk assures the Nationalist government regarding U.S. opposition to seating Communist China in the U.N., quelling fears that the U.S. is considering a more flexible policy toward the mainland.

Jul. 12: In a nationally televised address, President Johnson calls for Sino-American reconciliation and states that the U.S. will try to reduce tensions between the two countries.

Jul. 20: Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) tells the Senate that both Communist and Nationalist China should be seated in the U.N.. At a news conference the next day, President Johnson says that while the administration would "do everything we can to increase our exchanges" with China, the U.S. would not adopt a "two-China" policy.

Jul. 30: U.S. bombs the demilitarized zone between North and South Vietnam for the first time. 

Oct. 20: The United Nations Association, an independent non-partisan organization dedicated to support of the U.N., urges that the United States adopt a "two-China" policy in the U.N. or run the risk that the General Assembly might seat the P.R.C. and oust the representative from Taiwan. 

Oct. 27: China announces that it has successfully conducted a guided missile-nuclear weapons test the day before. 

Nov. 10: The Washington Post reports a build-up of Soviet troops along the Sino-Soviet border.

Nov. 21: The New York Times reports that in recent talks between Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, the Soviets openly discussed Moscow's growing concern over China's nuclear capabilities, and the possibility of a nuclear confrontation growing out of increased tension along the Sino-Soviet border. 

Nov. 29: The U.N. General Assembly rejects a resolution to assign China's U.N. seat to the Communists and expel the Nationalists. 

Dec. 7: The U.S. State Department announces the formation of a civilian panel to help "stimulate ideas" on U.S. China policy. The panel includes several China scholars who had criticized U.S. policy during the March 1966 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on China. 

1967
Jan 15: Beijing radio announces a "new turning point" in the Cultural Revolution, urging all Mao's supporters to "take political and economic authority into your own hands." 
The State Department issues "no comment" on reports that China had informed the U.S. the previous spring that it would stay out of the Vietnam War if the U.S. refrained from invading China or North Vietnam. Privately, other U.S. officials acknowledge that China had sent messages to the U.S. through several third-party channels. 

Jan. 25: The Xinhua news agency reports that "all of China is in a frenzy. . . . Only one word can describe the circumstances. That word is 'anarchy.' Without anarchy there can be no revolution!" 

Jan. 26: Chinese students clash with Russian soldiers in Moscow. 

Jan. 28: Chinese soldiers take part in enormous anti-Soviet demonstrations in Beijing. 

Feb. 4: Moscow threatens retaliation if China does not stop vilifying the Soviet Union and harassing Soviet citizens in Beijing. The same day, Soviet diplomatic staff and families are evacuated from China.

Feb. 11: U.S.S.R. and China terminate consular agreement. 

Apr. 25: Beijing radio reports that two American military aircraft have been shot down over southwestern China.American military spokesmen in Saigon report four planes missing, but deny that any U.S. planes had flown over China. 

May 2: Beijing People's Daily reports that the U.S. bombed the town of Ningming along the Vietnam border, which the U.S. denies. 

May 10: President Johnson assures the visiting vice-president of Nationalist China that the U.S. will continue to defend Taiwan militarily and support Nationalist China in the U.N.

May 15: In a dispatch to the Chicago Daily News, reporter Simon Malley reports that Chinese Premier Chou En-lai had told him in a 2-1/2 hour interview that war between China and the U.S. is inevitable. The following day, the Xinhua News Agency denies that Chou had granted the interview, calling Malley's dispatch "an out and out fabrication put out with ulterior motives."

Jun. 17: Communist China explodes its first hydrogen bomb. 

Jun. 25: The Xinhua news agency denounces meetings between President Johnson and Soviet Premier Kosygin in Glassboro, New Jersey, as "a global American-Soviet deal intended to enhance the anti-China, anti-Communist, anti-people and counter-revolutionary Washington-Moscow alliance." 

Oct. 12: Secretary of State Rusk defends U.S. actions in Vietnam as a means of blocking Chinese expansion in Southeast Asia.

Oct: Writing in Foreign Affairs, presidential hopeful Richard Nixon declares that American policy "must come urgently to grips with the reality of China," cautioning that "we simply cannot afford to leave China forever outside the family of nations, there to nurture its fantasies, cherish its hates, and threaten its neighbors." 

1968
Jan. 30: Communist forces in Vietnam launch the Tet Offensive, one of the major battles of the war, discrediting U.S. claims that the end of the war is near. 

May 1: Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York calls for more "contact and communication" with China in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. 

May 2: U.S. Information Agency invites Chinese journalists to cover the 1968 presidential elections.

May 21: In separate speeches, two U.S. under secretaries of state urge China to accept U.S. offers of new contacts and exchanges.

Jul. 12: Vice President Hubert Humphrey calls for an end to trade restrictions with China and a shift of U.S. policy away from "confrontation and containment" to one of "reconciliation and engagement." 

Aug. 8: In his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination, Richard Nixon says that he would "extend the hand of friendship to all peoples," specifically, to the peoples of China and Russia.

Aug. 21: U.S.S.R. invades Czechoslovakia. Two days later, Chou En-lai condemns the invasion as "the most barefaced and most typical specimen of fascist power politics played by the Soviet revisionist clique of renegades and scabs." 

Nov: In what becomes known as the "Brezhnev Doctrine," Leonid Brezhnev defends the invasion of Czechoslovakiaby claiming that the U.S.S.R. has the right and duty to intervene in other Communist states to "protect" them from anti-Communist influences.

Nov. 18: U.S. State Department announces that the Warsaw ambassadorial meeting between the U.S. and China -- already postponed from May -- would not take place because the Chinese had refused to name a date. On November 26, China denies it has caused the postponement, and proposes resumption of the talks in February, after the Nixon inauguration.The U.S. agrees to the proposal three days later. 

Dec. 10: In a televised interview, Arthur Goldberg, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, states that he favors seating both China and Taiwan in the U.N.

1969
Jan. 20: In his inaugural address, President Nixon hints at future changes in U.S. foreign policy: "After a period of confrontation, we are entering an era of negotiation."

Jan. 23: The Beijing People's Daily carries an editorial denouncing Nixon as "an agent of the American monopoly groups which have now chosen him as their front man. It goes without saying that Nixon will pick up the line . . . pursuing the reactionary policies of oppressing and exploiting the American people at home and carrying out aggression and expansion abroad."

Jan. 27: In his first presidential news conference, President Nixon states, "Until some changes occur on their side . . . I see no immediate prospect of any change in our policy" toward China.

Feb: Nixon authorizes a secret bombing campaign of Cambodia. The bombing will continue for four years. 

Feb. 1: In a secret memo to his new national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, Nixon states, "I think we should give every encouragement to the attitude that this Administration is 'exploring possibilities of raprochement [sic] with the Chinese.'" Kissinger calls for an internal re-examination of U.S. China policy. 

Feb. 18: China abruptly cancels Warsaw talks with the U.S., scheduled to re-open in two days. 

Mar. 2: Chinese border troops ambush a routine Russian patrol on the Ussuri River -- part of the Sino-Soviet border -- resulting in 38 deaths and 14 wounded. Soviet retaliation on March 15 causes heavy Chinese casualties. Altogether, there would be more than 400 skirmishes along the Sino-Soviet border in 1969. 

Mar. 3-7: Mass anti-Soviet demonstrations are held throughout China. 

Mar. 14: Soviet trade ministry officials report that as of March 2, China has halted all Soviet shipments to North Vietnam through Chinese territory. 

Mar. 21: Hong Kong newspaper The Star quotes Mao Tse-tung as saying that China is prepared to use nuclear weapons in the event ofa Soviet nuclear attack.

Mar. 21-22: Senator Edward M. Kennedy calls for U.N. recognition of China, establishment of diplomatic relations with the P.R.C., and the removal of American troops from Taiwan. 

Apr. 21: Secretary of State William Rogers announces a new U.S. "two-Chinas" policy that accepts the existence of a Communist China on the mainland and a Nationalist China on Taiwan as "facts of life." Despite the P.R.C.'s current hostility toward the U.S., Rogers says that "we shall take the initiative to reestablish more normal relations with Communist China and shall remain responsive to any indications of less hostile attitudes from their side." 

May 24: Chinese government issues an unprecedented public policy statement on the Sino-Soviet border dispute, opening the dispute to world opinion and marking a serious escalation of the Sino-Soviet split. 
At Nixon's request, Secretary of State Rogers asks Pakistani chief of state Yahya Khan to feel out the Chinese on expanded talks with the U.S. 

Jun. 8: Nixon announces the withdrawal of 25,000 troops from Vietnam. Two additional withdrawals follow later in the year, resulting in a 23 percent cut in U.S. forces in Vietnam. 

Jul. 21: U.S. State Department announces a slight easing of travel and trade restrictions on China.

Jul. 25: In a complete reversal of U.S. East Asia policy now known as the Nixon Doctrine, President Nixon says that the United States would no longer act as the "global policeman," and would reduce U.S. military presence in Asia and provide Asian countries with the means to defend themselves.

Aug. 1: President Nixon asks Pakistani chief of state Yahya Khan to secretly explore the possibilities for expanded talks between the U.S. and China. The next day, Nixon makes a similar request of Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausescu.

Aug. 8: On tour in Asia, Secretary of State Rogers states U.S. willingness to resume diplomatic talks with China in Warsaw.

Aug. 28: As Sino-Soviet border fighting continues, the U.S. State Department acknowledges reports that the Soviet Union is considering a preemptive strike against China's nuclear installations.

Sep. 23: China conducts its first underground nuclear test. 

Sep: Nixon and Kissinger order U.S. Ambassador to Poland Walter Stoessel to contact his Chinese counterpart and ask to resume Warsaw talks. 

Oct. 20: China and the Soviet Union open border talks in Beijing. 

Nov. 7: U.S. quietly ends its 19-year patrol of the Taiwan Strait, which has become a symbol of U.S. commitment to Chiang Kai-shek.

Dec. 3: Ambassador Stoessel makes contact with Chinese Charge d'Affaires Lei Yang and tells him that Nixon would like to open direct talks with the Chinese. 

Dec. 19: Ending a ban in place since 1950, the U.S. announces that subsidiaries and affiliates of U.S. firms abroad will be allowed to buy and sell non-strategic goods with China. 

1970
Jan. 8: State Department announces that Warsaw talks between U.S. and China will resume on January 20.It is the first time a U.S. spokesperson refers to the "People's Republic of China" by its official name.

Jan. 20: Ambassador Stoessel and other State Department officials meet with Lei Yang and aides in Warsaw. Stoessel assures China that Nixon wants to reduce American military presence in Southeast Asia, and would be willing to back away from the U.S. policy toward Taiwan and Chiang Kai-shek of the past two decades. Stoessel also suggests that the U.S. could send a representative to Beijing, or receive a Chinese emissary in Washington -- the first such offer in two decades.

Feb. 18: In an address to Congress, President Nixon states that the U.S. has made unilateral overtures to China "which underlined our willingness to have a more normal and constructive relationship," adding that "we have avoided dramatic gestures which might invite dramatic rebuffs."

Feb. 20: At continuing talks in Warsaw, Lei Yang tells Stoessel, "If the United States government wishes to send a representative of ministerial rank or a special envoy to Beijing . . . the Chinese Government will be willing to receive him."

Feb. 21: Kissinger begins secret talks with North Vietnamese negotiator Le Duc Tho.

Mar. 15: U.S. State Department further eases restrictions on travel to China.

Apr. 21: On the same day that Soviet Party leader Leonid Brezhnev condemns the anti-Soviet campaign in China, the Beijing People's Daily publishes an editorial calling for the overthrow of the Soviet government.A joint editorial in three leading Chinese newspapers the next day criticizes the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and attacks the Brezhnev Doctrine.

Apr. 29: Further easing of U.S. trade restriction on export goods to China. 

May 1: U.S. troops invade Cambodia. 

May 18: China cancels the next day's ambassadorial meetings in Warsaw to protest U.S. invasion of Cambodia. 

Jun. 20: China suspends Warsaw talks.

Jun. 30: U.S. invasion of Cambodia ends.

Oct. 5: In a Time magazine interview, President Nixon states, "If there is anything I want to do before I die, it is to go to China."

Oct. 25: White House press secretary Ron Ziegler publicly hints at the continued shift toward a U.S. "two-China" policy when he announces, "The U.S. opposes the admission of the Beijing regime into the U.N. at the expense of the expulsion of the Republic of China." 
President Nixon asks Pakistani President Yahya Khan to pass on a secret proposal to China: the U.S. wants to conduct high-level talks in Beijing, and promises it won't enter into any anti-China alliance with the U.S.S.R.

Nov. 10: Yahya Khan passes on Nixon's proposal to Chou En-lai. After conferring with Mao Tse-tung, Chou tells Yahya Khan: "We welcome the proposal from Washington for face-to-face discussions.We would be glad to receive a high-level person for this purpose, to discuss the withdrawal of American forces from Taiwan." A few weeks later Yahya Khan tells his foreign secretary Sultan Muhammed Khan of Chou's reply, and hands off planning to Sultan Khan.

Dec. 9: After weeks of silence, Nixon and Kissinger receive Chou En-lai's reply: In order to discuss the vacation of Chinese territories called Taiwan, a special envoy of President Nixon will be most welcome in Beijing. They reply that they can send an envoy, but that talks cannot be confined only to Taiwan. 

Dec. 10: At a news conference, Nixon states there has been no change in U.S. policy opposing China's admission to the U.N., but says the U.S. will continue easing trade and travel restrictions and trying to open up contacts with Beijing. 

1971
Feb. 8: South Vietnam invades Laos, with U.S. air support. Publicly attacking the invasion as a "grave provocation," China also terminates its secret exchange of letters with the White House, via Pakistan. 

Feb. 17: President Nixon insists that U.S. operations in Laos "should not be interpreted by Communist China as being a threat to them." 

Feb. 25: In his second annual State of the World address to Congress, Nixon states "The United States is prepared to see the People's Republic of China play a constructive role in the family of nations." It is the first time the president refers to the P.R.C. by its formal name. 

Mar. 15: The U.S. State Department ends restrictions on U.S. travel to China. The same day, it is announced that the U.S. is working to re-open the stalled Warsaw talks between Washington and Beijing. 

Apr. 6: The U.S. Ping-Pong team, in Japan for the 31st World Table Tennis Championship, receives a surprise invitation from their Chinese colleagues for an all-expense paid visit to the P.R.C.. Time magazine calls the overture "the ping heard round the world." 

Apr. 10: Nine American table tennis players, four officials, and two spouses arrive in China, ushering in an era of "Ping-Pong diplomacy." Ten journalists, including five Americans, are also invited to cover the team's visit, ending the information blockade from the People's Republic in place since 1949. Together, they are the first group of Americans allowed into China since the Communist takeover in 1949. 

Apr. 11-17: The American team's visit to China receives extensive U.S. media coverage.On April 14, Premier Chou En-lai tells the visiting Americans, "You have opened a new chapter in the relations of the American and Chinese people." 

Apr. 16: President Nixon tells American Society of Newspaper Editors that he hopes he can visit China some day. 

Late Apr: Nixon and Kissinger receive Chou En-lai's message, through Pakistani intermediaries, that China is willing to receive Nixon's envoy, dropping the condition that talks be confined to Taiwan.Says a jubilant Kissinger, "This is the most important communication that has come to an American President since the end of World War II." 

Apr. 26: A special presidential commission advises that while the P.R.C. should be seated in the U.N., "under no circumstance" should the Republic of China be expelled.

Apr. 27: U.S. administration officials reveal that Romanian Vice Premier Gogu Radulescu acted as an intermediary with China during his 1970 and 1971 visits with Chou En-lai, relaying U.S. hopes for improved relations with China. 

April 28: U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers states that a Nixon visit to China "might well be possible" if U.S.-Sino relations continue to improve.
Nixon asks Chinese leaders (via Pakistanis) not to invite other U.S. politicians--especially Democrats--to visit China. 

Apr. 29: President Nixon tells journalists, "I hope and, as a matter of fact, I expect to visit mainland China sometime in some capacity." 

Apr. 30: Life magazine publishes a December 18, 1970 interview with Mao Tse-tung, in which the Chairman welcomes Nixon to come to China for talks, "either as a tourist or as President."

May 7: U.S. Treasury further eases trade restrictions with China. 

Jun. 1: President Nixon announces that "a significant change has taken place among the members of the U.N. on the admission of mainland China, " adding that the administration was "analyzing the situation" and would announce its position at the fall session of the U.N.

Jun. 10: The White House announces the end of its 21-year embargo on trade with China.

Jul. 9: Feigning illness during a trip to Pakistan for talks with President Yahya Khan, Henry Kissinger takes a secret 4 a.m. flight to China.

Jul. 11: Following two days of secret talks with Chou En-lai, during which Kissinger promises several concessions on Taiwan, Chou En-lai extends an invitation to President Nixon to visit China.

Jul. 15: In a nationally televised surprise announcement, Nixon reveals that he will visit China in early 1972.

Jul. 25: An article in the Soviet newspaper Pravda warns that "any schemes to use the contacts between Beijing and Washington for some 'pressure' on the Soviet Union . . . are nothing but the result of a loss of touch with reality."

Jul. 28: The U.S. government announces the suspension of intelligence-gathering missions over China. 

Aug. 2: Secretary of State Rogers announces that the U.S. will end its 20-year policy of opposition to Communist China's admission to the U.N., but would not vote to expel the Nationalists. 
An article in the Chinese Communist journal Honqgi offers an explanation for China's recent overtures to the United States: China must ally itself with its "secondary enemy," the United States, in order to "isolate and strike at" its "primary enemy," the Soviet Union.

Aug. 3: The Republic of China's foreign ministry condemns America's proposed "two-China" policy as a "gross insult to the U.N. charter." 

Aug. 5: In a New York Times interview, Chou En-lai stresses that "the question of Vietnam and Indochina should be solved, and not the question of Taiwan or other questions,"but states that China would refuse to enter the U.N. so long as Nationalist China remains seated. 
An editorial in the People's Daily denounces Roger's proposed "two-China" policy, reiterating the position that Taiwan is China's internal affair. On August 17, the Chinese Foreign Ministry issues an even harsher denunciation.

Sep. 13 Marshal Lin Piao, formerly Mao's strongest military supporter,is killed in an airplane crash while fleeing to Moscow.He was presumable seeking Soviet help to block a rapprochement between China and the United States.  Sep. 16 In an unscheduled news conference, President Nixon says the U.S. will support the P.R.C.'s seating in the U.N. Security Council because it "reflects the realities of the situation," but adds that "we will vote against the expulsion of the Republic of China." 

Oct. 4: Secretary of State Rogers warns the U.N. General Assembly that the expulsion of the Republic of China would weaken the U.N. as a whole.

Oct. 20: Henry Kissinger visits China to prepare for Nixon's upcoming trip. 

Oct. 25: After a week of intense debate, the U.N. General Assembly votes to admit the People's Republic of China and expel Nationalist China. U.S. ambassador to the U.N. George Bush later complains that Kissinger's presence in Beijing during the vote undercut the American effort to preserve Taiwan's seat.

Oct. 26: Chiang Kai-shek declares he will not recognize the "illegal action" by which the U.N. has expelled Taiwan. 

Oct. 29: U.S. Senate, angered over Taiwan's ouster from the United Nations, defeats the 1972 foreign aid bill, which contains $141 million for the U.N.

Dec. 3: India, supported by Soviet aid, invades Pakistan. Both the U.S. and China side with Pakistan.  Dec. 12 China releases two American prisoners. 

Dec. 26: United States planes bomb targets in Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. The attacks continue for five days. 

1972
Feb. 14: New communications satellite and Beijing receiving station are prepared to broadcast Nixon's upcoming visit. 

Feb. 17: After a farewell ceremony on the White House lawn, President and Mrs. Nixon depart for Hawaii, en route to China. 

Feb. 21-27: President and Mrs. Nixon arrive in Beijing for a eight-day visit filled with official meetings, sightseeing and cultural events. On the first day, Nixon and Kissinger meet with Chou En-lai and Mao Tse-tung. That evening, the entire presidential party attends an official welcome banquet hosted by Chou En-lai in the Great Hall of the People. 

Feb. 27: Shanghai Communiqué, issued jointly by U.S. and China, pledges both countries to work for "normalization" of relations. In it, the U.S. acknowledges that there is only one China and that Taiwan is part of China, and agrees to withdraw its military forces from the island. 

Mar. 2: Secretary of State Rogers assures Nationalist China's ambassador to the U.S. James Shen of U.S. commitment to its mutual defense treaty with Taiwan. 

Mar. 30: North Vietnam invades South Vietnam. On April 6, U.S. resumes massive bombing of North Vietnam. 

Apr. 12: Chinese Ping-Pong team visits U.S. on two-week tour, including White House reception with President Nixon. 

Apr. 16: Two giant pandas, a gift from Chou En-lai to "the American people," arrive at Washington's National Zoo.A week earlier, the U.S. had presented China with two musk oxen. 

May 22: Nixon arrives in Moscow for a summit with Soviet leaders. On May 26, Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev sign the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I), a cornerstone of détente between the two nations. 

Jun. 17: Police arrest five men for burglary of Democratic Party headquarters in Watergate apartment complex in Washington, D.C. 

Jun. 19: Kissinger returns to Beijing for a seven-day visit "to promote normalization." 

Jun. 23: U.S. House of Representatives Majority and Minority Leaders arrive in China for two-week visit. 

Jul. 30: The Associated Press and Xinhua news agency exchange news and photos, in the first regular news contact between the U.S. and China since 1949. 

Aug. 12: Chinese Foreign Ministry opens new department to deal with U.S. and Pacific affairs. 

Oct. 26: Henry Kissinger announces that "peace is at hand" in Vietnam. Three days earlier, citing progress in peace talks, the U.S. suspended bombing of North Vietnam. 

Nov. 7: Richard Nixon is elected to a second term in the greatest Republican landslide victory in history.  Nov. 22 U.S. lifts 22-year-old ban on travel to China.

Dec. 18: U.S. resumes bombing of North Vietnam in heaviest bombing of the war. Two weeks later, citing progress in the peace talks, the air raids are halted. 

1973
Jan. 27: Peace Accords signed in Paris, calling for cease-fire in Vietnam War. 

Feb. 22: Following Kissinger's five-day visit to Beijing, the U.S. and China announce their agreement to establish "liaison offices" in each other's capitals. 

Mar. 12-15: The last three U.S. prisoners held in China are released. 

Mar. 17: In letters to Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai, Nixon reiterates their "joint determination" to normalize relations. 

Mar. 29: Last U.S. troops leave Vietnam.

Apr. 20: Beijing People's Daily severely criticizes U.S. bombing in Cambodia as a serious violation of the Paris peace agreements. 

Apr. 30: Nixon chief of staff H.R. Haldeman, chief adviser for domestic affairs John Erlichman, presidential counsel John Dean, and Attorney General Richard Kleindienst resign, following their implication in the Watergate cover-up.  May 1 U.S. and Chinese Liaison Offices open in Beijing and Washington, D.C., operating as de facto embassies, even though full diplomatic relations have yet to be established. 

May 17: Nationally televised Watergate Senate hearings begin.  Jun. 17 Leonid Brezhnev arrives in Washington for U.S.-Soviet Summit. 

Jun. 22: U.S. and Soviet Union sign agreement aimed at preventing nuclear war. 

Jun. 26: New York Times reports that Henry Kissinger met with the head of China's Liaison Office in Washington to assure him that accords signed at the U.S.-Soviet Summit did not constitute a superpower alliance against other countries. Secretary of State Rogers makes a similar disclaimer the same day. 

Jul. 4: Chase Manhattan Bank and the Bank of China establish a corresponding relationship, the first time a U.S. bank has represented a Chinese bank in the West since 1949.

Jul. 8: U.S. Postal Service announces beginning of parcel post delivery between the U.S. and China. 

Aug. 22: Henry Kissinger becomes Secretary of State.  Oct. 10 Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigns. Two days later, President Nixon names House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford as the new vice president. 

Nov. 11: Secretary of State Kissinger returns to China for a five-day visit, after which he states that the Watergate crisis is having no impact on U.S-China relations.

1974
Apr. 10: In a major address to the U.N. General Assembly, Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping outlines a new, more moderate Chinese foreign policy. 

May 9: U.S. House Judiciary Committee opens impeachment hearings against President Nixon.  Aug. 8 With an impeachment trial imminent, Richard Nixon becomes the only president in U.S. history to resign from office.  Aug. 9 Newly sworn-in President Gerald Ford gives Huang Zhen, the head of China's Liaison Office in Washington Huang, a personal letter to Mao Tse-tung, reconfirming the continuity of American policy toward China, and promising that "no policy has higher priority than accelerating" normalization of relations with China. 

Sep. 8: President Gerald Ford grants Nixon a "full, free and absolute pardon."  Oct. 25 The new head of the Liaison Office, George Bush, arrives in China for talks with Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping.

Nov. 25: Henry Kissinger arrives in China for talks with Chou En-lai, Deng Xiaoping and Foreign Minister Qiao Guanhua on normalization of U.S.-China relations. 

1975
Apr. 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.

Apr. 5: Chiang Kai-shek dies. 

Apr. 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.

Apr. 29: Final U.S. personnel are evacuated from Saigon.

Apr. 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." 

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

Sep. 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. 

Oct. 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. 

Dec. 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. 

Dec. 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.

1976
Jan. 8: Chou En-lai dies.  Feb. 7 Vice Premier and security minister Hua Guofeng becomes acting Premier. 

Feb. 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. 

Apr. 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. 

Apr. 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. 

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

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

Aug. 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." 

Sep. 9: Mao Tse-tung dies.  Oct. 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. 
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."

Nov. 2: Jimmy Carter elected president by a small margin.  Dec. 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.

1977
Feb. 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. 

Jul. 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. 

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

Aug. 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.

Sep. 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.

Sep. 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.

Oct. 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.

1978
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. 

Sep. 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. 

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

Nov. 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.

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

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

Dec. 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. 

1979
Jan. 1: U.S. and China establish full diplomatic relations.

Apr. 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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