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Rockefeller asks open china

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February 15
In a Communist Party journal, Beijing attacks the Soviet leadership as "revisionist," in the first public indication of a Sino-Soviet split.

March 2 United States and South Vietnam join in heaviest air strikes so far against North Vietnam.Six days later, the first U.S. combat troops arrive in South Vietnam.

March 15 Richard Nixon declares that the Vietnam conflict is a de facto war between the U.S. and China: "A United States defeat in Vietnam means a [Chinese] Communist victory."

March 25 An article in the Beijing People's Daily announces that China will "join the people of the whole world in sending all necessary material aid, including arms and other war materials" to South Vietnam, adding that China is ready to send "our own men whenever the South Vietnamese people want them, to fight together with the South Vietnamese people to annihilate the United States aggressors."But most evidence indicated that Mao was preparing for a vast internal program, and was reluctant to become engaged in Vietnam.

April 2 Buildup of U.S. troops and aid in South Vietnam, and National Security Council decision to increase number and intensity of air strikes on North Vietnam.

April 9 Chinese and American jets clash over the South China Seas.

June 30 U.S. Agency for International Development announces the end of U.S. non-military aid to Nationalist China.The U.S. had given $1.5 billion in economic aid to Taiwan over the previous ten years. Military aid to the Nationalists would continue.

July 17 The Chinese Xinhua news agency reports that China will send "equipment, whole sets of installations, and supplies in the national defense and economics fields" to North Vietnam.The previous week, similar promises of aid were also made by the Soviet Union and North Korea.

July 28 President Johnson announces an increase in troops to Vietnam from the current 75,000 to 125,000.

November 10 China's Cultural Revolution begins.

December 20 Premier Chou En-lai warns that if the U.S. decides on "going along the road of war expansion and having another trial of strength with the Chinese people," China will "take up the challenge and fight to the end."


March 8-30 Concerned that China might intervene in the widening Vietnam conflict, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee begins hearings on the need for a new policy toward mainland China.With virtually every major U.S. China scholar testifying, the near-unanimous opinion is that the U.S. should probably continue to "contain" China, but should also increase cultural, educational and technical contacts with the P.R.C..

March 20 At a monthly meeting in Warsaw, the U.S. reassures Chinese delegates that, despite its buildup in Vietnam, it has no plans to invade China.

April 10 In an effort to defuse Sino-U.S. tension, Premier Chou En-lai states that "China will not take the initiative to provoke war with the United States," but cautions that China will support any government which "meets with aggression by the imperialists."

April 12 U.S. stages first B-52 bomber raids over North Vietnam.

June 16 Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-Montana) calls for an "initiative for a direct contact between the Beijing government and our own government on the problem of peace in Vietnam and Southeast Asia."

July 3 In a visit to Taiwan, Secretary of State Dean Rusk assures the Nationalist government regarding U.S. opposition to seating Communist China in the U.N., quelling fears that the U.S. is considering a more flexible policy toward the mainland.

July 12 In a nationally televised address, President Johnson calls for Sino-American reconciliation and states that the U.S. will try to reduce tensions between the two countries.

July 20 Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) tells the Senate that both Communist and Nationalist China should be seated in the U.N.. At a news conference the next day, President Johnson says that while the administration would "do everything we can to increase our exchanges" with China, the U.S. would not adopt a "two-China" policy.

July 30 U.S. bombs the demilitarized zone between North and South Vietnam for the first time.

October 20 The United Nations Association, an independent non-partisan organization dedicated to support of the U.N., urges that the United States adopt a "two-China" policy in the U.N. or run the risk that the General Assembly might seat the P.R.C. and oust the representative from Taiwan.

October 27 China announces that it has successfully conducted a guided missile-nuclear weapons test the day before.

November 10 The Washington Post reports a build-up of Soviet troops along the Sino-Soviet border.

November 21 The New York Times reports that in recent talks between Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, the Soviets openly discussed Moscow's growing concern over China's nuclear capabilities, and the possibility of a nuclear confrontation growing out of increased tension along the Sino-Soviet border.

November 29 The U.N. General Assembly rejects a resolution to assign China's U.N. seat to the Communists and expel the Nationalists.

December 7 The U.S. State Department announces the formation of a civilian panel to help "stimulate ideas" on U.S. China policy. The panel includes several China scholars who had criticized U.S. policy during the March 1966 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on China.


January 15 Beijing radio announces a "new turning point" in the Cultural Revolution, urging all Mao's supporters to "take political and economic authority into your own hands."

January 15 The State Department issues "no comment" on reports that China had informed the U.S. the previous spring that it would stay out of the Vietnam War if the U.S. refrained from invading China or North Vietnam. Privately, other U.S. officials acknowledge that China had sent messages to the U.S. through several third-party channels.

January 25 The Xinhua news agency reports that "all of China is in a frenzy. . . . Only one word can describe the circumstances. That word is 'anarchy.' Without anarchy there can be no revolution!"

January 26 Chinese students clash with Russian soldiers in Moscow.

January 28 Chinese soldiers take part in enormous anti-Soviet demonstrations in Beijing.

January 28 The Chinese Army begins to intervene in numerous local struggles to stop fighting and maintain order, resulting in a virtual army takeover of China by the spring of 1968.

February 4 Moscow threatens retaliation if China does not stop vilifying the Soviet Union and harassing Soviet citizens in Beijing. The same day, Soviet diplomatic staff and families are evacuated from China.

February 11 U.S.S.R. and China terminate consular agreement.

April 25 Beijing radio reports that two American military aircraft have been shot down over southwestern China.American military spokesmen in Saigon report four planes missing, but deny that any U.S. planes had flown over China.

May 2 Beijing People's Daily reports that the U.S. bombed the town of Ningming along the Vietnam border, which the U.S. denies.

May 10 President Johnson assures the visiting vice-president of Nationalist China that the U.S. will continue to defend Taiwan militarily and support Nationalist China in the U.N..

May 15 In a dispatch to the Chicago Daily News, reporter Simon Malley reports that Chinese Premier Chou En-lai had told him in a 2-1/2 hour interview that war between China and the U.S. is inevitable. The following day, the Xinhua News Agency denies that Chou had granted the interview, calling Malley's dispatch "an out and out fabrication put out with ulterior motives."

June 17 Communist China explodes its first hydrogen bomb.

June 25 The Xinhua news agency denounces meetings between President Johnson and Soviet Premier Kosygin in Glassboro, New Jersey, as "a global American-Soviet deal intended to enhance the anti-China, anti-Communist, anti-people and counter-revolutionary Washington-Moscow alliance."

October 12 Secretary of State Rusk defends U.S. actions in Vietnam as a means of blocking Chinese expansion in Southeast Asia.

October Writing in Foreign Affairs, presidential hopeful Richard Nixon declares that American policy "must come urgently to grips with the reality of China," cautioning that "we simply cannot afford to leave China forever outside the family of nations, there to nurture its fantasies, cherish its hates, and threaten its neighbors."


January 30 Communist forces in Vietnam launch the Tet Offensive, one of the major battles of the war, discrediting U.S. claims that the end of the war is near.

May 1 Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York calls for more "contact and communication" with China in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

May 2 U.S. Information Agency invites Chinese journalists to cover the 1968 presidential elections.

May 21 In separate speeches, two U.S. under secretaries of state urge China to accept U.S. offers of new contacts and exchanges.

July 12 Vice President Hubert Humphrey calls for an end to trade restrictions with China and a shift of U.S. policy away from "confrontation and containment" to one of "reconciliation and engagement."

August 8 In his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination, Richard Nixon says that he would "extend the hand of friendship to all peoples," specifically, to the peoples of China and Russia.

August 21 U.S.S.R. invades Czechoslovakia. Two days later, Chou En-lai condemns the invasion as "the most barefaced and most typical specimen of fascist power politics played by the Soviet revisionist clique of renegades and scabs."

November In what becomes known as the "Brezhnev Doctrine," Leonid Brezhnev defends the invasion of Czechoslovakiaby claiming that the U.S.S.R. has the right and duty to intervene in other Communist states to "protect" them from anti-Communist influences.

November 18 U.S. State Department announces that the Warsaw ambassadorial meeting between the U.S. and China -- already postponed from May -- would not take place because the Chinese had refused to name a date. On November 26, China denies it has caused the postponement, and proposes resumption of the talks in February, after the Nixon inauguration.The U.S. agrees to the proposal three days later.

December 10 In a televised interview, Arthur Goldberg, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, states that he favors seating both China and Taiwan in the U.N..


January 20 In his inaugural address, President Nixon hints at future changes in U.S. foreign policy: "After a period of confrontation, we are entering an era of negotiation."

January 23 The Beijing People's Daily carries an editorial denouncing Nixon as "an agent of the American monopoly groups which have now chosen him as their front man. It goes without saying that Nixon will pick up the line . . . pursuing the reactionary policies of oppressing and exploiting the American people at home and carrying out aggression and expansion abroad."

January 27 In his first presidential news conference, President Nixon states, "Until some changes occur on their side . . . I see no immediate prospect of any change in our policy" toward China.

February Nixon authorizes a secret bombing campaign of Cambodia. The bombing will continue for four years.

February 1 In a secret memo to his new national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, Nixon states, "I think we should give every encouragement to the attitude that this Administration is 'exploring possibilities of raprochement [sic] with the Chinese.'" Kissinger calls for an internal re-examination of U.S. China policy.

February 18 China abruptly cancels Warsaw talks with the U.S., scheduled to re-open in two days.

March 2 Chinese border troops ambush a routine Russian patrol on the Ussuri River -- part of the Sino-Soviet border -- resulting in 38 deaths and 14 wounded. Soviet retaliation on March 15 causes heavy Chinese casualties. Altogether, there would be more than 400 skirmishes along the Sino-Soviet border in 1969.

March 3-7 Mass anti-Soviet demonstrations are held throughout China.

March 14 Soviet trade ministry officials report that as of March 2, China has halted all Soviet shipments to North Vietnam through Chinese territory.

March 21 Hong Kong newspaper The Star quotes Mao Tse-tung as saying that China is prepared to use nuclear weapons in the event ofa Soviet nuclear attack.

March 21-22 Senator Edward M. Kennedy calls for U.N. recognition of China, establishment of diplomatic relations with the P.R.C., and the removal of American troops from Taiwan.

April 21 Secretary of State William Rogers announces a new U.S. "two-Chinas" policy that accepts the existence of a Communist China on the mainland and a Nationalist China on Taiwan as "facts of life." Despite the P.R.C.'s current hostility toward the U.S., Rogers says that "we shall take the initiative to reestablish more normal relations with Communist China and shall remain responsive to any indications of less hostile attitudes from their side."

May 24 Chinese government issues an unprecedented public policy statement on the Sino-Soviet border dispute, opening the dispute to world opinion and marking a serious escalation of the Sino-Soviet split.

May 24 At Nixon's request, Secretary of State Rogers asks Pakistani chief of state Yahya Khan to feel out the Chinese on expanded talks with the U.S.

June 8 Nixon announces the withdrawal of 25,000 troops from Vietnam. Two additional withdrawals follow later in the year, resulting in a 23 percent cut in U.S. forces in Vietnam.

July 21 U.S. State Department announces a slight easing of travel and trade restrictions on China.

July 25 In a complete reversal of U.S. East Asia policy now known as the Nixon Doctrine, President Nixon says that the United States would no longer act as the "global policeman," and would reduce U.S. military presence in Asia and provide Asian countries with the means to defend themselves

August 1 President Nixon asks Pakistani chief of state Yahya Khan to secretly explore the possibilities for expanded talks between the U.S. and China. The next day, Nixon makes a similar request of Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausescu.

August 8 On tour in Asia, Secretary of State Rogers states U.S. willingness to resume diplomatic talks with China in Warsaw.

August 28 As Sino-Soviet border fighting continues, the U.S. State Department acknowledges reports that the Soviet Union is considering a preemptive strike against China's nuclear installations.

September 23 China conducts its first underground nuclear test.

September Nixon and Kissinger order U.S. Ambassador to Poland Walter Stoessel to contact his Chinese counterpart and ask to resume Warsaw talks.

October 20 China and the Soviet Union open border talks in Beijing.

November 7 U.S. quietly ends its 19-year patrol of the Taiwan Strait, which has become a symbol of U.S. commitment to Chiang Kai-shek.

December 3 Ambassador Stoessel makes contact with Chinese Charge d'Affaires Lei Yang and tells him that Nixon would like to open direct talks with the Chinese.

December 19 Ending a ban in place since 1950, the U.S. announces that subsidiaries and affiliates of U.S. firms abroad will be allowed to buy and sell non-strategic goods with China.

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