The second-highest-ranking diplomat in the United States will meet the Chinese foreign minister on Sunday for talks amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing.
The meeting between Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Tianjin, China, comes just days after the two countries exchanged criticism and imposed mutual sanctions.
While tensions remain high, a senior Biden administration official told reporters Saturday that “frank and open discussion, even — perhaps especially — when we disagree, is critical to reducing the potential for misunderstanding between our two countries, and maintaining global peace and security.” ., and making progress on important issues.”
The following is a timeline of the most important events in the history of US-China relations since 1949.
1949: separated at birth
Although ostensibly united against occupying forces during World War II, Chinese nationalist and communist factions renewed hostilities upon Japan’s surrender in 1945. The US State Department released China’s White Paper, indicating its intent to stay out of the Chinese Civil War. It should not and can not affect the outcome.
Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalists eventually withdrew to the islands of Taiwan and Hainan, leaving communist leader Mao Zedong to proclaim the creation of the People’s Republic of China on the mainland in 1949. American diplomats met with Mao, but were held back by his intention to relax until his ideological comrades in Moscow, chose to recognize Mao’s government The Republic of China in Chiang as the sole legitimate government of China.
1950: The Korean War
The end of World War II left the Korean peninsula divided along the 38th parallel between the Soviet-backed North and the US-backed South. The North Korean People’s Army invades the South in June, sending US-led UN forces on the defensive. Later that year, China entered the fray after southern forces near its border. Three years and millions of lives later, the two sides agreed to an armistice agreement establishing a demilitarized buffer zone between the two Koreas – along the 38th parallel, where the war began.
1953-1958: Taiwan Strait Crisis
Despite declaring in January 1950 that the United States would not interfere in the Taiwan Strait disputes, the outbreak of the Korean War in June, and possibly the takeover of Hainan by Communist forces in March, prompted U.S. President Harry Truman to declare it was in the United States’ interest to keep it. Taiwan Strait is “neutral”. Truman sends the US Navy there to prevent either side from attacking the other, and effectively begins US protection of the island.
The United States lifted this naval blockade in 1953, and the following year Chiang Kai-shek deployed forces to the islands of Kinmen and Matsu – off the coast of the mainland – where they were bombarded by Communist forces. The United States and the Nationalists sign the China-US Mutual Defense Treaty and the US Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend the use of nuclear weapons against China. This brinkmanship leads to the negotiating table and a national withdrawal from a few islands.
In 1958, the mainland resumed its bombing of the islands, preventing national garrisons from resupplying. Fearing that this is a prelude to an invasion of Taiwan, the United States is helping resupply the islands and is again discussing the use of nuclear weapons. Things eventually calm down to an arrangement that sees both sides bomb each other on alternate days. The agreement remains in place until the United States normalizes relations with China in 1979.
1964 – China got the bomb
Prompted by previous US threats to use nuclear weapons, Mao is pushing China to develop its own nuclear deterrent. In the early 1950s, China made a secret deal with the Soviet Union to exchange uranium ore for nuclear knowledge. However, the two later disagreed about Nikita Krushchev’s plans to discuss arms control in an effort to coexist peacefully with the West, and Beijing goes it alone without Soviet help.
In October 1964, China detonated its first nuclear device in a dry salt lake in Lop Nur in the remote Xinjiang region. Three years later, they succeeded in detonating a hydrogen bomb.
1969 – Sino-Russian border crisis
Chinese and Soviet differences in doctrine exploded into conflict when Beijing ordered troops to take Zinbao Island on the two countries’ eastern borders, with fighting also erupting on China’s northwest frontier in Xinjiang. The seven-month conflict paves the way for ping-pong diplomacy and US President Richard Nixon’s historic visit in 1972.
1971 – Kissinger’s Secret Flight
After a friendly meeting between competitors at the World Table Tennis Championships in Japan, a delegation of American players is invited to tour China, which has been off-limits to Americans since the Korean War. The visit is going well and setting the stage for Pakistan to broker a secret visit to China by US National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger later that year, where he will meet with Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai.
1972 – Nixon goes to China
At this time, the only thing China and the United States have in common is the pragmatism of their leaders and a common adversary in the Soviet Union. During Nixon’s seven-day visit to China, he met with Mao, and with Zhou Enlai signed the Shanghai Communique – the document that forms the bedrock of subsequent diplomatic relations between the United States and China and provides a mechanism for the two sides to address thorny issues. , such as Taiwan. Both countries established liaison offices in the other, in preparation for full diplomatic relations.
1979 – The One-China Policy and the Law on Relations with Taiwan
Now led by US Democratic President Jimmy Carter and reformer Deng Xiaoping, the two countries are issuing the joint statement on the establishment of diplomatic relations, the normalization of relations between them. The United States also supports the one-China policy and transfers diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.
Chinese hawk and Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater moves to strengthen ties with Taipei and the US Congress passes the Taiwan Relations Act, which Carter signed into law after concessions were made. As a diplomatic solution, it maintains commercial, cultural and other ties through the American Institute in Taiwan, a non-profit organization established in Washington, DC.
1982 – Reagan’s Six Affirmations
Like the administration that preceded him, US President Ronald Reagan was able to strengthen relations with both sides of the Taiwan Strait. He issued the Six Guarantees to Taiwan, which include pledges not to mediate between the two Chinese, to respect the Taiwan Relations Act and have no plans to stop arms sales to Taipei. Later, Reagan’s enthusiasm for containing the expanding Soviet Union—then in the midst of invading Afghanistan—led him to sign a third joint statement with China, reaffirming the United States’ commitment to the one China policy and increasing intelligence sharing between the two.
1989 – Tiananmen Square Massacre
Chinese troops violently suppressed a peaceful protest led by students in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Crushing protests makes China an international pariah overnight. US President George HW Bush halts arms sales to China and suspends relations.
1999 – The bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade
A US plane struck the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during the NATO air campaign against Kosovo’s occupying Serbian forces, killing three journalists. NATO and the United States apologize, but US-China relations are dropping to a new low. Chinese protesters threw stones at the US Embassy in Beijing, resulting in staff being held there for three days
2000 – Normalization of trade relations
China grants permanent trade relations with the United States under the US-China Relations Act. This situation is a prelude to China’s accession to the World Trade Organization the following year. As the world’s largest importer and exporter respectively, trade between the United States and China has been on an upward trajectory since the establishment of diplomatic relations.
2001 – Hainan Island Incident
A US signals intelligence aircraft collided with a Chinese interceptor aircraft while it was carrying out “freedom of navigation” exercises over a controversial part of the South China Sea claimed by both China and Vietnam. Chinese pilot ejected but was never found; The American plane made an emergency landing on the Chinese island of Hainan. After ten days and a carefully crafted statement, 24 American crew members were released.
2008 – China is the largest holder of US debt
In late 2008, in the midst of the global financial crisis, China replaced Japan as the largest foreign creditor of the United States, holding about $600 billion in Treasuries. This title later passed between the two Asian countries; As of January 2021, China owns just over $1 trillion, or about 4 percent, of the United States’ $28 trillion national debt, second only to Japan.
2010 – China became the second largest economy in the world
China overtakes Japan to become the world’s second largest economy in terms of GDP, after only the United States. Goldman Sachs predicts that China is on track to take the lead in 2027.
2011 – The US pivots towards Asia
The United States is moving to counter China’s growing propensity across the region, first by reaffirming its cooperation with Beijing and then by increasing its presence throughout Asia.
2013 – Sunnylands Summit
In an effort to restore US-China relations, US President Barack Obama is hosting newly appointed Chinese leader Xi Jinping in California in what is being billed as the most important leadership summit since Nixon’s meeting with Mao. Despite the agreement on North Korea and combating climate change, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement on cyber espionage and US arms sales to Taiwan.
2015 – The United States calls on China to stop the accumulation of the South China Sea
The United States is warning China to stop “any further militarization” of a string of artificial islands and reefs in the South China Sea. The area is disputed because China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines have territorial claims. With nearly a third of global maritime trade passing through the region, the United States has led Western efforts to maintain “freedom of navigation” exercises there.
2018 – Trump imposes trade tariffs on China
In response to the alleged theft of US intellectual property, US President Donald Trump has announced trade tariffs on Chinese imports, specifically targeting steel, aluminum, clothing and electronics. China imposes retaliatory measures on 128 categories of US imports. Washington later increased tariffs in an attempt to rebalance trade between the world’s two largest economies.
2019 – Hong Kong protests extradition law, Trump signs ammunition ban
In February, protests erupted in Hong Kong after the region’s security bureau proposed a law allowing the extradition of accused individuals for trial in mainland China. The disturbances continue throughout the year.
In November, Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which requires the State Department to certify annually whether Hong Kong is self-governing enough to retain its own business considerations in the United States. He also signed another bill banning the sale of tear gas and rubber bullets to Hong Kong police. The following July, Trump signed an executive order ending the special status China asking the United States to stay out of its “internal affairs.”
July 2020 – China Consulate in Houston closed; Pompeo blows up something
In late July, the United States ordered the closure of the Chinese Consulate in Houston, claiming that it was the center of an operation of espionage and intellectual property theft. China retaliates by ordering the closure of the US Consulate in Chengdu.
The next day, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a speech at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, asking, “What should the American people show now, after 50 years of engagement with China?” He goes on to call Xi a “true believer in a bankrupt totalitarian ideology,” lists Beijing’s trade issues and human rights abuses, and ends his sermon with a quote from Nixon: “The world cannot be safe until China changes.”
2021 – Pompeo calls the Xinjiang campaign a ‘genocide’.
On the final day of the Trump administration, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said China was “committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, China, targeting Uyghur Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minorities.”
China is responding by imposing sanctions on 28 Trump-era officials, including the former secretary of state. Pompeo’s successor, Anthony Blinken, reiterated Pompeo’s announcement, as well as President Joe Biden in his first official call with Xi Jinping.