By late 1960s, the cold war was moving rapidly. Tension grew everywhere, especially in Asia. The Korean Wars and the Vietnam Wars torn through the continent, with nations forced to choose between the western bloc and the eastern bloc. The communist bloc was anything but united: tension rises between the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. The once close allies found themselves calling each other “revisionists”. Border firings and skirmishes are not uncommon, along with possibilities of rapid escalation. To the South, the Vietnam wars became was a new frontier. China supported the communists in the North, seeking to remove American influence in the region while America found itself stuck in an undesirable war. China found itself isolated. It just ended a war with India, and the only friendly neighbour was and American ally, Pakistan.
Mao Tse-tung: Grew up in the rural Hunan Province. This man became one of the world’s most powerful dictator. By the 1970s, Chairman Mao suffered multiple chronic disease. Though he no longer cares for the administration of China, he retained the final say in important issues.
Chou En-lai: The Prime Minister of China, educated in France. A shrewd diplomat, he was in charge of the negotiations.
Richard Nixon: 37th President of the United States. He rose to the office by promising hardline policies against Communism. Ironically, the visit to China became one of his greatest lasting legacies.
Mao: Welcome Mr. President. Do sit down. Before we start talking about the future, what do you think of our Chinese Hospitality?
Nixon: I really appreciate it. China has been a great nation known for its hospitality through out the millenniums. Oh, how I wish the Democrats in my country could be half as hospitable as you Chinese are?
Mao: Ha(chuckles). You see, Mr Nixon, I like rightists like you. Rightists speak true to their hearts, unlike some of those bastards around me.
Nixon: We all have our problems, Mr. Chairman. I hope our friends to the north, are not giving you too trouble. These damn Soviets are just backstabbers.
Mao: Agreed, Mr President. The Polar Bears? These Soviet revisionists don’t have any moral conscience whatsoever. They only want a puppet in my place who will gladly do anything they ask. And how many times have they broken their promise? When the old Czar was overthrown, they promised to annul those old treaties. Yet look at where we are now. They should be never be trusted. Anyway, the Soviets are not our priority.
Nixon: Well, perhaps we can discuss the future of our relationship. Mr. Chairman. We hope that we can find common ground, despite out differences, to build a world structure in which both can be safe to develop in our own ways on our own roads. We can counter the Soviet influence in the region. Is the Soviet not trying to turn your Xinjiang province into another Outer Mongolia? We shall demonstrate to the world that China and US can work together, as partners.
Mao: Sadly, Mr President. The same cannot be said for some other nations. China always sought to develop peacefully, of course in its own way while retaining its sovereignty. We are no threat to the world. But some nation treat us in a hostile way. It is hard to find true friends in this world today. Nixon: Which is why we are here today, Mr Chairman. US and China, while different, do share much common ground. Together, we can achieve more. China would benefit from US, as US would benefit from China. But we all have interests that cannot be neglected, perhaps you can discuss them with the premier later, in a progressive manner of course.
Nixon: Mr. Chairman, a communique would be ideal for our situation. Should our negotiations prove fruitful, perhaps we can issue one on the future of the relation between our nations.
Mao: Those questions are not questions to be discussed in my place. They should be discussed with the Premier. I discuss philosophical questions. Have we covered enough for today…
The Polar Bear
Nixon: Mr. Premier, I am fully aware of the border skirmishes that happened in the recent months. The United States hope that it can counter the Soviet Union together with China.
Chou: Yes, the tension has been high. These Soviet revisionists stationed roughly a million soldier near our borders. But, as the Chairman has said, Russia will drop its atomic bombs on America and America will drop its atomic bombs on the Soviet Union. You may both be wiped out. China too will suffer, but will have four hundred million people left over. They are of bigger threat to the United States, than to China.
Nixon: The United States, does not wish for a full-scale confrontation. Neither would the Soviet Union, as it is safe to assume. To have the United States balance out the Soviets would be in China’s interest, correct?
Chou: And to have China balance out Soviets would be most desirable for the United States. Fair enough. We both play each other as a card against the Soviets, that would pressure the Soviets into better terms. Their polemic against China, and the principals that we uphold must be be halted, with military pressures if needed.
Nixon: The last thing the United States would want, is to see a more influential Soviet Union in the far east. If we are to work together, Asia will be more stable, and safe from the Soviet Union.
The Irritant: Taiwan
Chou: Mr. President. Taiwan has aways been a sacred territory of China since ancient times. There can be only one China, and that cannot possibly be the nationalist one in Taipei. We sincerely request the withdrawal of all US military, especially the fifth fleet. To have a foreign navy in China’s water is like to have the Soviet station nuclear missile in Alaska for US, a blatant attack on our Nation’s sovereignty.
Nixon: Mr. Premier. The United States does not wish to damage China’s sovereignty in anyway. We understand that the unification is inevitable. But immediate actions are impossible. To do so would be breaking our defence treaty with Taiwan. That would be
Chou: Mr President. The place is no great use to you. But a great wound for us. China has suffered humiliation by the hands of you western Imperialists in the past century. If the normalisation of the relationship between us is to continue, we must agree on actions to resolve this issue. The United States wants to improve relations with China, yet it continues to support the Chiang Kai-Shek clique. Is this not self-contradictory?
Nixon: I assure you that the United States will support the unification China, peacefully, of course. However, to immediately withdraw our military would be a sign of weakness. Should that happen, we would embarrass ourselves. I cannot promise you immediate actions, for that would weaken my political positions in US. That would be most undesirable for both of us. Many in US question my visit and would gladly destroy whatever process we have achieved. But I always do more than I say. No American personnel, directly or indirectly, nor any American agency, directly or indirectly, will give any encouragement or support in any way to the Taiwan Independence Movement.
Chou: The chairman will be very pleased to hear that. But I must urge the United States end its support to the Chiang Kai-Shek Government as soon as possible.
Nixon: Mr Premier. The matter of Indochina, is most urgent to us. Ending the conflict in the region would benefit the world greatly. The United States wish end them as early as possible.
Chou: Mr President. If the matter is truly so pressing, then why haven’t you ended the war already? Why does the United States keep on interfering in the domestic affairs of other nations.
Nixon: US would have gladly withdraw all of its armed forces, if only the North Vietnamese will sit down and negotiate sincerely. They argue for days just for what kind of table to use in the negotiations and where each person sits.
Chou: Certainly they do not negotiate truthfully, but they have a right to choose their own leader. The army that the United States is fighting against, is simply seeking to free their nation from a corrupt and oppressive government. Though I have to agree that the Vietnamese are half-cooked and rash in their manners. But different from US’s position, we see Vietnam as an issue of no great importance. So long as no foreign force interferes in that area, then the issue is solved.
Nixon: If there are no negotiations, we will eventually withdraw, unilaterally. But our position is not to maintain nay particular government in South Vietnam. We want the people to remainCorrect me if I am mistaken, if the government is as unpopular as you seem to think, then the quicker our forces are withdrawn the quicker it will be overthrown. That would be in China’s interest, no?
Chou: The manner in which the United States shall withdraw all of its soldiers is none of our concern. We do not seek to influence other nations. Our soldiers do not fight this war. They merely build roads, as opposed to your army. Have you forgotten the deeds that the United States committed in the past years in Indochina? Your government has broken many promises, for instance failing to hold election scheduled for Vietnam in 1956. This was false, dirty, what Dulles did. The United States, must withdraw all its troops and all its military installations. Moreover, it should end its support for the Thieu government in the South. If all foreign presence is removed, then peace is within grasp. It is such a shame. You have given the Soviet Union a chance to say that the music played in Beijing to welcome President Nixon has been together with the sounds of the bombs exploding in North Vietnam…