BYU Asian Studies Journal


David Whitesell


BYU Asian Studies, shanghai communiqué


Since 1949, the U.S. has had to face a major issue when interacting with China. This issue lies in the contest between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) based in mainland China and the Republic of China (ROC) based on the island of Taiwan for recognition as the legitimate government of China. Since 1979, U.S. policy has been to recognize formally the PRC as the official government of China. This recognition, which ended years of froideur between Beijing and Washington, was possible because of the previous decade of rapprochement, which was marked by the episode of “ping-pong diplomacy” in 1971, Nixon’s 1972 visit to China, and the Shanghai Communiqué, which established the foreign policy positions of each country (Macmillan 2007, p. xx). The Shanghai Communiqué is the foundation upon which modern-day Sino–U.S. relations are built and delineates areas where the U.S. and China could move forward in a mutually beneficial relationship.