It all started at the end of the 1960s. The United States was embroiled in the Vietnam War. We remember that the country is cut in two. The communists are in the north, they are winning. The United States confronts the USSR through Vietnam. They support the south and the USSR the north. The tension is at its peak.
China and the USSR begin to move away, border incidents multiply. As a result, germinates in the minds of American leaders the idea of taking the USSR in a pincer movement by alienating Beijing’s support. General de Gaulle, in Versailles, warns of a possible war between Moscow and Beijing. Richard Nixon therefore decides to slip into this breach, widen it and get closer to Beijing.
We then witness a amazing baby steps game. A journalist named Edgar Snow is invited to Beijing, it is a sign that is interpreted as a desire for warming. Beijing is also releasing clerics who have been imprisoned. And then there is a whole series of exchanges between national table tennis teams. The two American and Chinese teams fraternize.
In July 1971, Henry Kissinger secretly goes to China. This is called the “Marco Polo mission”. He goes there with secret agents and meets Zhou Enlai, the Chinese Prime Minister at the time. Economic ties, on the other hand, took longer to build.
As soon as the Chinese economy was liberated, trade exploded. America clearly dominates throughout the 1980s. There is the massacre in Tiananmen Square in 1989, Bush does not want to break. It was not until 1992 that reforms and openness were relaunched by Deng Xiaoping.
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