Shanghai Communiqué

Shanghai0612 Jinjiang
The hall at Jinjiang Hotel, site of the signing of the communiqué.
Shanghai Communiqué

Background

The Joint Communiqué of the United States of America and the People's Republic of China, also known as the Shanghai Communiqué (1972), was an important diplomatic document issued by the United States of America and the People's Republic of China on February 28, 1972 during President Richard Nixon's visit to China.[1][2][3] The document pledged that it was in the interest of all nations for the United States and China to work towards the normalization of their relations, although this would not occur until the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations seven years later.

The US and China also agreed that neither they nor any other power should "seek hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region". This was of particular importance to China, which shared a militarized border with the Soviet Union.

Regarding the political status of Taiwan, in the communiqué the United States acknowledged the One-China policy (but did not endorse the PRC's version of the policy) and agreed to cut back military installations on Taiwan. This "constructive ambiguity" (in the phrase of US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who oversaw the American side of the negotiations) would continue to hinder efforts for complete normalization.

The communiqué included wishes to expand the economic and cultural contacts between the two nations, although no concrete steps were mentioned.

See also

References

  1. ^ Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XVII, China, 1969–1972, eds. Steven E. Phillips and Edward C. Keefer (Washington: Government Printing Office, 2006), Document 203.
  2. ^ Nixon, Richard M. Richard Nixon: 1972 : Containing the Public Messages, Speeches, and Statements of the President. pp. 376–379.
  3. ^ "Joint Communique of the United States of America and the People's Republic of China". Taiwan Documents Project. February 28, 1972. Retrieved 19 February 2019.

Further reading

1972 in China

Events from the year 1972 in China.

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Constructive ambiguity

Constructive ambiguity is a term generally credited to Henry Kissinger, said to be the foremost exponent of the negotiating tactic it designates. It refers to the deliberate use of ambiguous language on a sensitive issue in order to advance some political purpose. Constructive ambiguity is often disparaged as fudging. It might be employed in a negotiation, both to disguise an inability to resolve a contentious issue on which the parties remain far apart and to do so in a manner that enables each to claim obtaining some concession on it.

It warrants further hopes that the ensuing postponement of resolution on this particular point, in a way that causes neither side excessive discomfort, will enable them to make real progress on other matters. If this progress takes place, the unresolved question might be revisited at a later date, if not voided altogether by the passage of time. On the other hand, since ambiguity in agreements can generate subsequent controversy, the likelihood of its employment proving constructive in comparison to further attempts to negotiate the point in question in clear terms is a question best left for historians.

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Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations

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Its announcement coincided with the ending of U.S. official recognition of the Republic of China (now commonly known as "Taiwan"), which was announced by President Jimmy Carter in December 1978. Carter also announced the withdrawal of all U.S. military personnel from Taiwan and the end to the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty signed with the ROC. However, the Taiwan Relations Act passed by the unequivocal support of US Congress (and signed by the Carter Administration) shortly thereafter continued to provide the legal framework as a US domestic law to maintain commercial, cultural, and other relations without official Government representation and without diplomatic relations of the unofficial relations in the form of the American Institute in Taiwan.

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