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U.S. State Department Fact Sheet on High Level U.S. - China Visits, 2006

Summaries of visits by U.S. presidents to China and Chinese leaders to the U.S., 1972-2005
April 18, 2006

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Washington, DC
April 18, 2006

Fact Sheet

U.S.-China High Level Visits

High-level visits have played an important role in the evolution of U.S.-China relations, beginning with the first visit in 1972 by President Nixon.

President Nixon: At the conclusion of President Nixon's February 1972 visit to Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai, the United States and China signed the "Shanghai Communiqué," in which both sides stated their intention to normalize diplomatic relations. This led to the opening of liaison offices in each country; Ambassador David Bruce was named to head to the U.S. liaison office in Beijing and General Huang Chen became head of China's liaison office in Washington. Ambassador Bruce was succeeded by George H.W. Bush.

President Ford: President Ford visited China in 1975, the first visit by a U.S. President following the opening of liaison offices. President Ford reaffirmed U.S. intentions to normalize relations with Beijing.

President Carter: On January 1, 1979, the U.S. and China established full diplomatic relations, marking the event with the issuance of a second joint communiqué. Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping visited the United States from January 29   February 4, 1979, the first visit by a Chinese leader since the founding of the People's Republic of China. Vice President Mondale visited China in August 1979, at which time the two countries signed agreements on maritime affairs, civil aviation, and textiles, as well as a bilateral consular convention.

President Reagan: On August 17, 1982, the U.S. and Chinese governments signed a third joint communiqué, in which the U.S. announced its intention to reduce gradually over time the quality and quantity of arms sales to Taiwan and the Chinese promised to strive for a peaceful resolution of outstanding differences with Taiwan. In January 1984, Premier Zhao Ziyang toured Honolulu, Williamsburg, San Francisco, New York, and Washington D.C. and signed agreements with President Reagan on cooperation in science and industrial technology. Three months later, President Reagan reciprocated Zhao's visit with a six-day trip to Beijing, Shanghai, and Xian -- the first by an American president since Ford's visit in 1975 -- and concluded talks on peaceful nuclear cooperation. In July 1985, President Li Xiannian traveled to Washington, where he and President Reagan signed the nuclear cooperation agreement, initiated a number of new cultural and educational exchanges, and signed a fisheries agreement. Vice President Bush visited China in 1985 and opened the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu.

President George H.W. Bush: In February 1989, President Bush visited the Chinese capital, where he met with Deng Xiaoping and General Secretary Zhao Ziyang. President Bush reaffirmed our "One China" policy and encouraged a peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues.

President Clinton: The first high-level summit after the Tiananmen massacre of June 1989 was in 1997, when Chinese President Jiang Zemin visited the United States. In connection with that visit, the two sides concluded talks on the implementation of the 1985 agreement on peaceful nuclear cooperation. President Clinton visited China for nine days in June 1998. In addition to his official talks in Beijing, President Clinton participated in a televised exchange with students at Beijing University and a live radio broadcast in Shanghai.

President George W. Bush: President Bush has met with senior Chinese leaders numerous times. He participated in the October 2001 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Shanghai. The President returned to China four months later in February 2002, honoring a commitment he had made at the time of APEC to make a bilateral visit to China as soon as possible once the United States had begun to implement policies to deal with the terrorism of September 11. President Jiang Zemin met with President Bush in Crawford, Texas in October 2002, on the margins of the APEC summit in Mexico, and President Bush hosted Premier Wen Jiabao in Washington in December 2003.

President Hu visited the United States as Vice President of China in the spring of 2002. President Bush first met Hu Jintao in his new capacity as PRC President on the margins of the G-8 Summit in Evian in June 2003, and at subsequent international fora, such as the September 2004 APEC meeting in Chile the July 2005 G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, and the UN General Assembly in September 2005. President Bush and President Hu met most recently in China in November 2005, a visit that immediately followed the APEC summit in Pusan, Korea. During these meetings, President Bush and President Hu have addressed a broad range of issues in our bilateral relationship, including regional stability, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation of weapons of mass-destruction, mutually-beneficial trade and economic growth, human rights, including religious freedom, and educational and cultural exchanges.