The Mao-Nixon summit was the first time that an American president had set foot in communist China. It followed twenty-two years of hostilities and confrontation between the two states and was a result of a radically changed international situation, following the Sino-Soviet split in the 1960s. Mao adjusted his foreign policy in an attempt to join forces with the United States against the Soviet Union, while Nixon pursued a new strategy by achieving a rapprochement with China that none of his predecessors even attempted. With Henry Kissinger and Zhou Enlai as essential intermediaries, he engaged Mao in a discussion that ended the PRC’s isolation from the West and America’s estrangement from China, while also opening up new avenues for what the Americans called ‘triangular diplomacy’.
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