The third wave of establishing diplomatic relations with other countries
In the early 1970s, Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai made timely and farsighted major decisions in view of changes in international developments, thus opening new horizons for China?s diplomacy and ushering in a third wave of establishing diplomatic relations with other countries.
During this period, the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, were locked in rivalry for global hegemony, with the Soviet Union on the offensive and the United States on the defensive. To reverse its unfavorable position and lift itself from the predicament in Viet Nam, the United States sought rapprochement with China. Seeing that the United States had the desire to improve its relations with China, Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai seized the opportunity. They accepted the proposal made by the United States for improving relations with China and invited Kissinger and Nixon to visit China. During Nixon?s visit to China, the two countries issued a joint communiqué which became known as the Shanghai Communiqué. The thawing of China-US relations exerted far reaching impact on the international developments. In 1971, the United Nations passed with overwhelming majority of votes a resolution on restoring China?s lawful seat in the United Nations. China?s international status was vastly enhanced.
China?s relations with other third world countries saw extensive growth both politically and economically. China fully supported the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America in their just struggle against imperialism, colonialism and hegemony. It did not attach any political conditions in providing economic assistance. China supported the third world countries in developing their economy and their call for the establishment of a new international economic order, winning their trust and support. As a result, many third world countries entered into diplomatic relations with China. Twenty-six African countries forged diplomatic ties with China. There was also a breakthrough in China?s relations with the Latin American countries as China established diplomatic relations with 13 Latin American countries including Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil. China entered into diplomatic relations with Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Maldives in Southeast Asia and South Asia, seven countries including Iran, Turkey and Kuwait in West Asia and the Middle East and five countries in South Pacific such as Fiji and Papua New Guinea. The establishment of diplomatic relations between China and a large number of developing countries was accompanied by frequent exchange of visits between the Chinese leaders and the leaders of these countries, which greatly boosted the steady growth of relations between China and other third world countries.
In September, 1972, the Chinese and Japanese governments issued a joint statement on establishing diplomatic relations after negotiation. In August, 1978, China and Japan signed the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship which further promoted their relations. The 1970s also witnessed a surge of establishing diplomatic relations between China and the West European countries. From 1970 onwards, China successively entered into diplomatic relations with Italy, Austria, Belgium, Greece, the Federal Republic of Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal and Ireland. China?s relations with Britain and the Netherlands were respectively upgraded to the ambassadorial level. China entered into formal relations with the European Community in 1975. During this period, relations between China on the one hand and Canada, Australia and New Zealand on the other were also normalized.
By the end of 1979, China had entered into diplomatic relations with 120 countries. China had friends across the five continents and its international standing saw unprecedented growth.