On this day 43 years ago,

U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced the establishment of diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. Relations with the communist state had grown cold since the Chinese Communist Party militia took control over country. The People’s Republic, founded under the leadership of Mao Zedong, was not recognized as a separate state by the United States until 1979. Alongside the Soviet Union, the regime supported its communist allies in the Korean War (1950-1953) and the Vietnam War (1964-1975). During this period, all diplomatic relations between the two states were frozen. In the wake of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), which sought to rid the republic of anti-communist sentiments, China sealed itself off from the outside world and further poisoned relations with anti-American propaganda.

After the rupture of Sino-Soviet relations in the late 1960s, the United States and China began to resume talks. In 1971, President Richard Nixon became the first U.S. president to visit the People’s Republic. The so-called Ping-Pong diplomacy, in which the two nations came closer to each other with the help of well-known table tennis players, gained fame during this period. After the beginning of the opening policy in 1978 and the move away from a planned economy to a more open market economy, economic relations between the USA and China also solidified. On December 16, 1978, the two nations announced the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Since its transformation to a market-oriented economic system, the People’s Republic of China has become the second strongest economy next to the United States. The resulting competition and the increasingly authoritarian traits of the Communist Party leadership worsened relations between the two states, so that an open trade war broke out under Donald Trump’s presidency. Journalists, activists and politicians have been warning for several years of the beginning of a new Cold War between the two rival nations.