Change of set­ting yielded Shang­hai Com­mu­nique

China Daily (USA) - - G20 2016 CHINA - ByWANGXU wangxu@chi­

Known as one of the seven cap­i­tals of an­cient China, Hangzhou is gear­ing up to host the G20 Lead­ers Sum­mit on Sun­day and Mon­day. Though the tran­quil city may not be as in­ter­na­tion­ally well­known as Beijing or Shang­hai, it has played a vi­tal role, on many oc­ca­sions, in forg­ing China’s diplo­matic land­scape.

The cru­cial doc­u­ment that ended 23 years of iso­la­tion be­tween China and theUnited States, as well as re­sult­ing in the es­tab­lish­ment of diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries in 1979, the Shang­hai Com­mu­nique, which was is­sued on Feb 27, 1972 in Shang­hai, was ac­tu­ally agreed upon in­Hangzhou.

The ne­go­ti­a­tion for the com­mu­nique con­tin­ued through­out then-US pres­i­dent Richard Nixon’s visit, which he de­scribed as “the week that changed the world”, but the fi­nal ver­sion was re­leased just a day be­fore theUS del­e­ga­tion headed back toWash­ing­ton.

Talks over the com­mu­nique in Beijing didn’t go smoothly as one can eas­ily tell from the chronol­ogy of Nixon’s China visit, which showed that then­premier Zhou En­lai had meet­ings with Nixon for more than three hours ev­ery day af­ter his ar­rival, while noth­ing con­crete other than a sched­ule for ac­tiv­i­ties was pro­vided to the pub­lic.

Then, Zhou sug­gested chang­ing the sched­ule to in­cludeHangzhou, one of China’s fa­mous at­trac­tions.

There had been no indi­ca­tions prior to this that Hangzhou was to be a des­ig­nated des­ti­na­tion on the US pres­i­dent’s agenda, but the re­sult showed that per­haps its serene lo­ca­tion and the lack of dis­trac­tions al­lowed the agree­ment to be worked out and fi­nal­ized.

On Feb 26, for­sak­ing Air Force One, Nixon boarded Zhou’s plane to travel to Hangzhou.

De­spite the beau­ti­ful scenery of the World Her­itage Site West Lake, the com­mu­nique talks were dead­locked sev­eral times over the word­ing for the Tai­wan ques­tion.

Beijing in­sisted that “China and Tai­wan” or “Two Chi­nas” are not ac­cept­able.

Then Vice-for­eign min­is­ter Qiao Guan­hua andUSNa­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Henry Kissinger had to work overnight to ham­mer out the com­mu­nique in a guest­house near theWest Lake.

As dawn broke, Kissinger asked Qiao what was the name of the road that ran by theWest Lake? Qiao replied it was Su Cause­way, which was built by poet Su Dongpo over a thou­sand years ago dur­ing the Song Dy­nasty.

“The east side of the Su Cause­way is the West Lake, right? What about the west?” Kissinger asked.

“The west part is also West Lake,” Qiao replied.

Kissinger used this ex­am­ple to help get over the hur­dle. “Both sides of the Su Cause­way are the West Lake. Then can we say the both sides of the straits are all Chi­nese?”

Beijing and Wash­ing­ton agreed with Kissinger’s idea and the fi­nal word­ing of the Shang­hai Com­mu­nique read:

TheUnit­edS­tate­sac­knowl­edges that all Chi­nese on ei­ther­side­oftheTai­wanS­trait main­tainthereis­b­u­toneChina China.TheUnit­edS­tates­gov­ern­ment does not chal­lenge that­po­si­tion. the Zhe­jiang Archives and Zhe­jiang Daily con­trib­uted to this story.


Richard Nixon (right), for­mer US pres­i­dent, along with Zhou En­lai, for­mer Chi­nese premier, strolls through Hua­gang Park on West Lake in Hangzhou on Feb 26, 1972. The Shang­hai Com­mu­nique was ac­tu­ally agreed upon in Hangzhou.

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