mandag 21. februar 2022

Fifty years after Nixon's historic visit to China, questions hang over the US-China future

When US President Richard Nixon walked down the red-carpeted stairs from Air Force One to shake hands with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai on a cold day in Beijing on February 21, 1972, it was hailed by many as a world-changing gesture. Nixon's arrival -- the first time an American President had set foot on Chinese soil since the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949 -- came after more than 20 years of hostility and almost no contact between the two countries.

The eight-day visit would open the door for the formation of diplomatic relations between the world's richest country and its most populous. It would also reshape the world order as it was known: shifting the power dynamics of the Cold War and playing a part in China's transition from impoverished isolation to a new role as a growing global power broker and economic partner to the United States.

But 50 years on, that milestone is likely to be marked by little fanfare from Beijing or Washington.
Instead, the anniversary of Nixon's historic visit comes at a low point in US-China relations. Many in Washington now view China as a growing economic and military threat, while an increasingly assertive and nationalistic China under leader Xi Jinping has pushed back on what it sees as American interference in its affairs and region. Strained ties have narrowed leeway for cooperation -- with the US even keeping its diplomats home from Beijing's Olympics earlier this month in protest of China's human rights record.