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Backgrounder: Major Events in China-U.S. Relations

Chinese President Hu Jinto starts a four-day state visit to the United States Tuesday at the invitation of U.S. President Barack Obama.

The following is a chronology of major events in China-U.S. relations.

-- April 10-17, 1971: A U.S. pingpong team visited China, the first U.S. delegation to receive an invitation to visit China since 1949. The visit led to the restoration of China-U.S. relations which had been cut for more than two decades.

The "pingpong diplomacy" promoted the development of China-U.S. relations and changed international relations. As one comment described it, "the big globe was set in motion by a tiny globe."

-- Feb. 21-28, 1972: Former U.S. President Richard Nixon made a formal visit to China, with a China-U.S. joint communique released in Shanghai on Feb. 28. The joint communique, also called the Shanghai Communique, was the first of its kind between the two countries.

-- Dec. 16, 1978: The two countries simultaneously issued the "Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations." It was the second joint communique between China and the United States.

-- Jan. 1, 1979: China and the United States officially established diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial-level. The United States announced it would cut all "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan, withdraw its troops and terminate the U.S.-Taiwan Mutual Defense Treaty on Jan. 1, 1980.

-- Jan. 28-Feb. 5, 1979: Chinese Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping paid an official visit to the U.S. at the invitation of U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The visit, the first by a Chinese leader to the United States, opened a new chapter in the history of China-U.S. relations. On Jan. 31, the two sides signed a bilateral technological cooperation agreement and a cultural agreement.

-- July 7, 1979: The two governments signed a three-year trade agreement, granting each other the most-favored-nation trading status.

-- Aug. 17, 1982: China and the U.S. issued a joint communique, or Aug. 17 Communique, their third, on gradually reducing and finally resolving the issue of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. The three communiques have become directive documents for the development of China-U.S. relations.

-- Oct. 26-Nov. 3, 1997: Chinese President Jiang Zemin paid a state visit to the U.S. On Oct. 29, the two countries issued a joint statement, establishing the goal, the principle and the directive policy of building a constructive strategic partnership in the 21st century. The two leaders also agreed to establish a regular consultation mechanism between the defense ministries of the two countries.

-- Dec. 11, 1997: Under the consensus on the development of relations between the armed forces of China and United States reached between the heads of state of the two countries during Chinese President Jiang Zemin's visit to the U.S., senior U.S. and Chinese defense officials held the first-ever formal defense consultations between the two countries in Washington.

-- Jan. 17-20, 1998: U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen visited China. During his visit, the two countries signed an agreement on establishing a consultation mechanism to strengthen maritime military safety.

-- March 14, 1998: The United States announced it would end a long campaign to win a U..N resolution censuring China for "human rights abuses."

-- June 25-July 3, 1998: U.S. President Bill Clinton made a state visit to China, during which the two countries issued three joint statements on South Asia, the inspection protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention and the issue of anti-personnel mines.

-- April 6-April 14, 1999: Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji made an official visit to the United States. Premier Zhu and U.S. President Bill Clinton issued a joint statement on China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

-- Nov. 15, 1999: China and the United States signed a bilateral agreement on China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

-- Dec. 7-10, 2003: Premier Wen Jiabao conducted an official visit to the United States. He put forward five principles to ensure the sustainable and healthy development of economic cooperation and trade between the two countries, which was agreed by U.S. President George W. Bush. They also agreed to upgrade the China-U.S. commerce and trade joint committee.

-- Aug. 1, 2005: Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick co-chaired the first China-U.S. strategic dialogue in Beijing. Since then, the China-U.S. strategic dialogue has been held regularly in rotation between China and the United States.

-- Nov. 19-21, 2005: U.S. President George W. Bush paid a visit to China, during which he held talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao. The two presidents exchanged views in an in-depth way on China-U.S. relations and regional and international issues of common concern. They agreed to expand common understanding and deepen mutual trust in order to carry forward in an all-round manner the constructive and cooperative relations between the two countries in the 21st century.

-- April 18-21, 2006: Chinese President Hu Jintao visited the United States. The two sides agreed that China and the United States had extensive and important common strategic interests and were not only mutual stakeholders, but should also be constructive collaborators. They agreed that a sound bilateral relationship was of strategic significance for safeguarding and promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large.

-- Aug. 7-11, 2008: U.S. President George W. Bush attended the opening ceremony and associated activities of the Beijing Olympic Games.

-- April 1, 2009: Chinese President Hu Jintao and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama held a meeting in London, the first of this kind for the two leaders. During the meeting, they agreed to build a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship in the 21st century to deepen bilateral cooperation in various fields. They also decided to establish the "China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogues" mechanism.

(Source: Xinhua)

VOL.59 NO.12 December 2010 Advertise on Site Contact Us