Negotiating with the Enemy

Negotiating with the Enemy

U.S.-China Talks during the Cold War, 1949-1972
Yafeng Xia
Distribution: World
Publication date: 09/29/2006
Format: Hardback 10 b&w photos, 4 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-34758-9
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A very good attempt to give a coherent and consistent account of the China-U.S. contacts during the Cold War.... [R]eaders will certainly gain a better understanding of this interesting and intricate history." —Zhou Wenzhong, Chinese Ambassador to the United States

Few relationships during the Cold War were as dramatic as that between the United States and China. During World War II, China was America’s ally against Japan. By 1949, the two countries viewed each other as adversaries and soon faced off in Korea. For the next two decades, Beijing and Washington were bitter enemies. Negotiating with the Enemy is a gripping account of that period. On several occasions—Taiwan in 1954 and 1958, and Vietnam in 1965—the nations were again on the verge of direct military confrontation. However, even as relations seemed at their worst, the process leading to a rapprochement had begun. Dramatic episodes such as the Ping-Pong diplomacy of spring 1971 and Henry Kissinger’s secret trip to Beijing in July 1971 paved the way for Nixon’s historic 1972 meeting with Mao.

Author Bio

Yafeng Xia is Assistant Professor of East Asian and Diplomatic History at Long Island University.


“This is a very good attempt by Xia Yafeng to give a coherent and consistent account of the China—U.S. contacts during the early decades of the Cold War. The extensive research he has done is impressive and his readers will certainly gain a better understanding of this interesting and intricate part of the history of the relationship between the two great countries.”
 — Zhou Wenzhong, Chinese Ambassador to the United States

“Drawing on newly available Chinese and U.S. primary sources, Yafeng Xia has produced a significant study on the complex and fascinating history of Beijing—Washington communications from the dangerous years of confrontation to the period of rapprochement forged by Mao and Nixon.”
 — William Burr, author of The Kissinger Transcripts: The Top Secret Talks with Beijing and Moscow

“Negotiating with the Enemy deals with a crucial issue concerning the history of Chinese—American relations, U.S. policy toward China, and in a more general sense the international history of the Cold War. Well organized and clearly written, the account rests on the author's excellent multi—archival and multi—source research. Strongly recommended. ”
 — Jian Chen, Professor of Sino-American Relations, University of Virginia

“Yafeng Xia (Long Island Univ.) has penned a complex scholarly account on a simple question: how did two adversaries, the US and the People's Republic of China (PRC), turn around that relationship over the course of the period from 1949 to 1972 in a diplomatic revolution engineered by Mao Zedong and Richard Nixon? Employing newly available Chinese archival information, Xia painstakingly crafts the story from the turbulent year 1949 to Nixon's China trip in 1972. While scholars might be disappointed that little attention is given to the State Department's 'China hands' who courageously offered advice about establishing a relationship with Mao before the takeover of the mainland, they will find information on those officials of the PRC, including Huang Hua, Wang Bingnan, and Qiao Guanhua, who advised Mao and Zhou Enlai as 'American hands.' In short, Xia sees the two—decades—plus story of Sino—US relations as a continuum of confrontation and communication that slowly paved the way for the historic changes in 1972. Despite security concerns, ideology, and historical enmity, the eventual conciliation resulted in full diplomatic recognition of the PRC in 1978. The book contains photos, a chronology, endnotes, and an especially noteworthy, extensive bibliography. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. —CHOICE January 2008”
 — C. W. Haury, Piedmont Virginia Community College

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
Note on Transliteration

1. Introduction
2. Establishing Contact: Huang-Stuart Talks, 1949
3. Negotiating While Fighting: The Korean Armistice Talks, 1951<N>53
4. Creating a Special Channel: The Ambassadorial Talks, 1955<N>60
5. Negotiating at Cross-Purposes: The Ambassadorial Talks, 1961<N>68
6. Entering a New Era: Toward Higher-level Talks, January 1969<N>June 1971
7. Breaking the Ice: Kissinger and Haig in Beijing, July 1971<N>January 1972
8. Summit Talks: Nixon's China Trip, February 1972
9. Conclusion