History of American presidents’ visits to China and how they affect the bilateral relations

Xiaodong Fang
6 min readOct 18, 2023

The history of American presidents visiting China is a significant aspect of U.S.-China relations, which have evolved over the years.

Photo by Joel Danielson on Unsplash

These presidential visits reflect the evolving nature of U.S.-China relations, encompassing periods of cooperation, competition, and confrontation across a wide range of issues, from trade and economics to security and human rights.

Richard Nixon (1972):

President Richard Nixon’s visit to China in February 1972 marked a historic turning point in U.S.-China relations. It was the first visit by a sitting U.S. president to the People’s Republic of China. Nixon’s visit led to the Shanghai Communique, which laid the groundwork for normalized relations between the two countries.

Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

The communique acknowledged the “One China” policy and paved the way for diplomatic recognition in 1979. This visit initiated a process of detente and cooperation between the United States and China during the Cold War.

Jimmy Carter (1979):

President Jimmy Carter formally recognized the People’s Republic of China as the legitimate government of China in 1979, severing diplomatic ties with Taiwan. While Carter did not make an official visit to China, his administration’s actions in recognizing the PRC were significant in shaping the bilateral relationship.

Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

After President Jimmy Carter’s administration formally recognized the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the legitimate government of China in 1979 and severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the U.S.-China relationship underwent significant changes. Diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China continued to develop in the 1980s and 1990s. High-level visits and exchanges became more frequent, helping to build trust and understanding.

Ronald Reagan (1984):

--

--

Xiaodong Fang

Political Scientist studied and worked at #Georgetown #IowaState #JamesMadison | Observing #Elections and #China