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Competing Images and American Official Reconsiderations of China Policy, 1961&–1968

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image of Journal of American-East Asian Relations

In February 1972, President Richard Nixon made a historic visit to the People”s Republic of China (PRC), marking a Sino-American rapprochement and the beginning of the route to normalization of relations. This came more than twenty years after mainland China turned Communist and fought American-led United Nations forces in Korea. Thereafter, the United States had sought to ”contain“. Communist China by means of bilateral alliances and military bases in East Asia, and to isolate it by refusing to recognize the Communist regime. The next twenty years were marked by American opposition to UN membership for the PRC, three crises in the Taiwan Strait, much offensive rhetoric, and a proxy war in Vietnam. Thus it appeared in 1972 that Nixon had executed a dramatic reversal of U.S. China policy in ending this hostile estrangement.


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