President Richard M. Nixon (1960 - 1968)

Part VI
Sino-American Relations� (contd.)

President Nixon returned to Red China, a nation of 650 million people which wasn�t even officially recognized by the United States government, in the spring of 1964, an election year. Like his first visit to the Communist nation, Nixon was greeted with all the pomp and splendor of Chinese state affairs. However, it was off the red carpet and out of the lime light when Nixon went to work, unveiling his Machiavellian scheme for ending the conflict in Vietnam. Negotiations between Nixon and Chairman Mao himself lasted nearly a week and resulted in a series of compromises.

Basically, the People�s Republic of China agreed to do three things: 1) tighten its growing vice on North Vietnam, 2) stop all offensive military actions conducted by North Vietnam against South Vietnam, and 3) end North Vietnamese support for the Viet Minh. In exchange, the US would: 1) not officially protest any of these activities (or the means by which they were carried out), 2) support the Chinese in their claim over the Paracel Islands, and 3) schedule a program which would potentially end with full diplomatic recognition of the People�s Republic of China by the United States.
Mao Zedong and Richard Nixon
Of course, the Republic of China on Taiwan protested this move. However, by the time that Taiwan and Chiang Kai-shek learned of the deal, it was too late. A main problem for the island nation was their inability to carry out, or even make, threats. The fact of the matter was, that without American support Chiang Kai-shek�s regime on Taiwan would collapse and would be retaken by Communist China. They could not risk angering the United States by overreacting to the seemingly pro-Communist Vietnam Accords.

The so-called Vietnam Accords signed in April of 1964 marked the high-water mark of Sino-American relations. For President Nixon�s first term, relations with the PRC and Mao Zedong steadily improved. For a time, it looked as if relations between the two nations would normalize. However, in the wake of the Vietnam Accords and the actions that followed, relations began to weaken once again, culminating in war during the 1970�s.

Vietnam� (contd.)

Amazingly, Nixon�s plan for Vietnam worked brilliantly. While the Chinese brought North Vietnam under control, expanding the number of troops with North Vietnam and basically putting Ho Chi Minh under undeclared house arrest, the United States began a process of democracy building in South Vietnam. Although US ground troops never entered South Vietnam, US air power and the CIA helped search and destroy Viet Minh cells within the nation.

With subtle threats about pulling US-backing, both the South Vietnamese and the Taiwanese relented and withdrew claims to the Paracel Islands, just as Nixon had promised. However, the United States remained wary of the Chinese and their North Vietnamese puppets and took the opportunity to completely revamp the South Vietnamese Army, instituting new training and introducing new weapons systems.

What began as guerilla warfare between two opposing ideologies ended in 1964 with a peaceful resolution. The two nations, South Vietnam, an up-and-coming democracy heavily under the influence of the United States, and North Vietnam, a client state of an ever-growing People�s Republic of China, agreed to disagree. The two nations went their separate ways, each firmly held under the boot of their respective masters.
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