terça-feira, fevereiro 21, 2017
U.S. President Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to the People's Republic of China was an important step in formally normalizing relations between the United States and China. It marked the first time a U.S. president had visited the PRC, which at that time considered the U.S. one of its foes, and the visit ended 25 years of separation between the two sides.
Before even being elected president, Nixon had talked of the need for better relations with the PRC, with which the U.S. did not maintain diplomatic relations as it recognized the government of the Republic of China on Taiwan as the government of China. Early in his first term, Nixon and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger began sending subtle overtures hinting at warmer relations to the PRC government. After a series of these overtures by both countries, Kissinger flew on secret diplomatic missions to Beijing, where he met with Premier Zhou Enlai. On July 15, 1971, the President announced that he would visit the PRC the following year.
Occurring from February 21 to 28, 1972, the visit allowed the American public to view images of China for the first time in over two decades. Throughout the week the President and his most senior advisers engaged in substantive discussions with the PRC, including a meeting with Chairman Mao Zedong, while First Lady Pat Nixon toured schools, factories and hospitals in the city of Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou with the large American press corps in tow. Nixon dubbed the visit "the week that changed the world."
The repercussions of the Nixon visit were vast, and included a significant shift in the Cold War balance, putting the PRC with the U.S. against the Soviet Union. "Nixon going to China" has since become a metaphor for an unexpected or uncharacteristic action by a politician.