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Xinhua Insight: Shanghai Communique: where Sino-U.S relations start

By Xinhua writers Lu Qiuping, Xu Xiaoqing, Ji Ming and Wu Yu (Xinhua)

08:29, February 28, 2012

SHANGHAI, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- In the grand hall of Shanghai's Jinjiang hotel, the picture of former American President Richard Nixon toasting with former Premier Zhou Enlai portrays the significance of that moment.

Forty years ago, Nixon became the first U.S. president to visit the People's Republic of China. He met with China's leader Mao Zedong on Feb. 21, the day he arrived in the country, and then the Shanghai Communique -- which was the major achievement of his ice-breaking visit -- was released on Feb. 28, 1972, the day he left China. The Communique was finalized in the grand hall of the hotel.

"It can be said that Sino-U.S. relationship kicked off here," Nixon recalled while revisiting the hall in 1993.

According to the Shanghai Communique, on which the negotiations led by him and Zhou, "the two sides expressed the hope that the gains achieved during this visit would open up new prospects for the relations between the two countries." It emphasized the normalization of relations between the two countries was not only in the interest of the Chinese and American people but also contributed to the relaxation of tension in Asia and the world.

The visit and the Communique totally changed China-U.S. relations, leading to official establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries at the ambassadorial-level on Jan. 1, 1979.

Decades later, trade between the two countries has reached 440 billion U.S. dollars.

The China-US relationship has become one of the most important, dynamic and promising bilateral links in today's world, Vice President Xi Jinping said during his visit to the U.S. two weeks ago.

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