Memoirs shed light on Nixon's Beijing visit

By CAI HONG | China Daily | Updated: 2019-08-12 09:14
Chairman Mao Zedong, center, talks with visiting US President Richard Nixon in Beijing on Feb 21, 1972. Others at the historic meeting included (from left) Premier Zhou Enlai, interpreter Tang Wensheng and Henry Kissinger, Nixon's national security adviser. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Messages and signals had been going back and forth between the two countries for more than two years.

In an interview with Time magazine in October 1970, Nixon said: "If there is anything I want to do before I die, it is to go to China. If I don't, I want my children to."

In March 1971, Washington ended all restrictions on the use of US passports for travel to the Chinese mainland.

In April that year, Nixon terminated the 20-year embargo on trade between the two nations. He also ordered new steps to be taken to ease currency and shipping controls placed on China.

At a news conference on April 29, 1971, Nixon said he expected to visit China sometime in some capacity.

He added that he hoped to contribute to "a policy in which we can have a new relationship" with China.

In August 1970, Chairman Mao Zedong invited the US writer Edgar Snow to Beijing, and on Oct 1, Mao placed Snow next to him on the reviewing stand at the parade celebrating the 21st anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

In December that year, in an interview with Snow, Mao said China was considering allowing US citizens of all political persuasions to visit the country. When Snow asked whether a rightist such as Nixon, who represented the "monopoly capitalists", would be allowed to visit, Mao said he would be happy to talk to Nixon, whether he came as president or as a tourist.

Snow's interview appeared in Life magazine in April 1971.

Nixon recalled in his book that it was now public knowledge that Mao would welcome him to Beijing.

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