There are many events that took place in America during the era of Richard Nixon which had great historical significance. Such events are inclusive of stopping of the Vietnam War, having a person visiting the moon planet and Nixon’s visit to People’s Republic of China. Of all the memorable events, president’s visit to China was the most outstanding bearing in mind that it was the first time an American president paid a visit to China and by then, America was China’s worst enemy (Black pp. 70). Therefore, it was not only unexpected for a president to pay a visit to the country, but the visit became a metaphor to the Americans and to other countries in the world. The American citizens had to react to the unexpected visit especially due to the fact that Nixon was an anti-communist and China on the other hand was associated with communists’ countries of the Soviet Union like Russia and some other countries in the Eastern Europe. Moreover, the action created controversies to the American citizens because Nixon’s anti-communist views had contributed greatly to his election as a vice president in the year 1952. It is clear that the visit resulted to negative and positive reactions among different groups in America. With that background in mind, this essay shall describe Nixon’s visit and narrow down to Americans and Chinese reactions towards the same.
Before embarking on the main issue concerning Nixon’s visit to China, it is important to discuss some of the background issues concerning Nixon, as illustrated in his autobiography. Having being born in California in the year 1913, Nixon started to practice law in Duke University Law School. His political career began when he was thirty nine years after he was elected to join the congress in the year 1950. He was then elected as a vise president two years after joining the congress. Although he was aspiring to be a president during the election held in the year 1960, his opponent John Kennedy defeated him and ended up becoming the President (Nixon pp. 189).
Richard Nixon political life was characterized by major accomplishments and major challenges. In his life, he has managed to write some books like his autobiography and book entitled ‘six crises’ which explain major accomplishments and challenges. For instance, he explains his first goal once he was elected was on reconciliation. That is the reason he undertook to bring to an end the Vietnam War and to improve the relationships between American and China (Nixon pp. 210). The fact that astronauts were able to go to the moon planet in the year 1969 cannot be underestimated. Nonetheless, he also writes about has major challenges which he faced while he was in office which climaxed during his resignation. Although he had defeated his opponent in the 1972 election with a wide margin, Watergate scandal which took place a few months after contributed greatly to his resignation as it did to other administration officials. He eventually resigned in August 1974 for the sake of allowing the process of healing to take place in America, as he explained it. His resignation marked the end of presidency journey which had began in the year 1968. A lot of issues covered in his autobiography are beyond the scope of this paper. It is therefore important to dwell on the main issue which is to describe his visit to China in 1972.
The preparation of the Nixon’s visit to China started in the year 1971 after his National Security advisor paid a visit to Beijing secretly on his way to Pakistan. Nixon’s trip started on February 21st and lasted for seven days until 28th February. During his seven days trip, he was able to visit Beijing, Shanghai as well as Hangzhou. Immediately after Nixon arrived in China, he was able to meet Mao who had been ill for sometime but was already recovering. The meeting only incorporated Chinese top officials and President Nixon as well as Winston Lord who was the Americans Ambassador to China. Since P. Rodgers, the Secretary of State was excluded from the meeting; Lord was also not included in the official photographs. After the first meeting, Nixon also met with other diplomats from China at a place known as Great Hall of the people where the meetings conducted lasted for duration of forty minutes to four hours (Connors pp. 4).
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