Sino-French Normalization and Its Impact on the United States and Taiwan

In: Journal of American-East Asian Relations
Qiang Zhai Professor of History, Auburn University at Montgomery, Montgomery, Alabama, USA

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This article examines the making of Chinese-French cooperation during a critical period of the Cold War. In 1964, the People’s Republic of China and France established diplomatic relations. Escaping from the restraints of the rigid Cold War alliance structure, Mao Zedong and Charles de Gaulle took the bold and extraordinary move to forge a new relationship based on the geopolitical calculations of countering American-Soviet domination of world affairs. What motivated Mao’s policy toward France? How did he view de Gaulle? How did the changes in the international system in the early 1960s affect Mao’s perceptions and calculations? What was the connection between Sino-French normalization and the Vietnam conflict? How did Washington and Taipei respond to the Sino-French rapprochement? This article uses newly released Chinese Foreign Ministry Archive files, declassified U.S. government documents, and primary sources from Taiwan (including Chiang Kai-shek’s diaries) to answer these questions.

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