Nixon Visits China IV

Lead: They were vigorous ideological opponents. Therefore, President Richard Nixon and the Communist leaders of China were in an excellent position to break out of old habits.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The habit of opposition can stand in the way of diplomatic progress. In the early 1970s for hard-nosed political and economic reasons, the old enemies, Communist China and the United States, reached out to one another. The United States was mired in a war in Vietnam it could not win without provoking a wider Asian conflict, Nixon needed a boost to his re-election chances, and the vast Chinese market offered hope for expanded trade to a troubled American economy. Mao Zedong and the other Chinese leaders were just emerging from the isolation of the highly destructive Cultural Revolution, needed a counter-weight in their disputes with the Soviet Union, and wanted U.S. concessions on the Taiwan dispute and the China seat in the United Nations. They also desired access to Western technology.

Nixon Visits China III

Lead: Vigorous anti-communism had built Richard Nixon's career. As President he found he had to do business with his old opponents.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: President Nixon had a favorite saying, "when you have a reputation as an early riser, you can sleep late on occasion." By the time he became President in 1969, few doubted Richard Nixon's anti-communism. He was cold warrior of great repute. Yet, he faced tough problems which required the cooperation of those whom during most of his career he had condemned as enemies.

Nixon Visits China II

Lead: Richard Nixon visited China in 1972. Both he and his hosts had reputations to overcome.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After centuries of rule by often corrupt and inefficient imperial dynasties, China embarked on the road to Revolution in 1912. Inspired by Sun Yat-sen, the nation rejected the empire, but his party, the Guomindang, was not able to establish constitutional government. Corruption and chaos increased, and beginning in the 1920s, the government of Sun's successor, Generalissimo Jiang Kai-shek, was almost constantly involved in a civil war against the Communists led by Mao Zedong. After a truce during which both factions fought the invading Japanese in the 1930s and 1940s, the civil war resumed. The Communists won in 1949 but spent the better part of two decades consolidating their hold on China. During that time relations with the United States remained icy due to tensions over the fate of Taiwan, open conflict in Korea and Vietnam, and clear ideological differences.

Nixon Visits China I

Lead: On February 21, 1972, U.S. President Richard Milhouse Nixon arrived in Beijing, Peoples Republic of China. For the Chinese and for Nixon it was a meeting born of necessity.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Until the middle of the twentieth century, relations between China and the United States were limited. Up to 1920, the United States was at best a regional power and played a role in East Asia secondary to Britain, France, and even Russia. This had begun around 1900. The United States acquired the Philippines and therefore became a major player in Asian affairs, and it emerged from the First World War as a truly global military and economic power.