After a period of studied withdrawal from the world scene from 1966 to 1969, the People's Republic of China has returned to the international diplomatic and trading arenas with vigor and imagination. President Nixon's projected visit to Peking symbolizes the rapid turnabout. Three years ago U.S. bombs were falling within miles of the Chinese border and fears of a Sino-American war were rampant in the two countries. Indeed, in 1967-68, when China had only one ambassador abroad, its trade had dropped and its relations with its neighbors had reached all-time lows, many students of Chinese foreign policy (this author included) thought it entirely possible that Chinese leaders had become overwhelmed by domestic problems of an enduring nature. As a result, it was thought that China was turning inward and was unlikely to play an active role on the world scene in the early 1970s.
That view was wrong. Ambassadors have returned to their posts. China's trade has resumed its upward growth. Peking has embarked upon its largest aid program to date, the construction of the railroad from Tanzania to the Zambian copper fields. Limited tourism to China has resumed, with Japanese visitors particularly again flocking to the mainland. Following the armed clashes in April 1969 over the disputed islands in the Ussuri River in Manchuria, Sino-Soviet relations have improved somewhat; Peking and Moscow plan increases in their trade and are engaging in border talks.
A major development has been the surge of international recognition that it is the People's Republic of China and not the rival Republic of China on Taiwan which is the legitimate government of China. Beginning with Canada in October 1970 a variegated group of nations have established diplomatic relations with Peking: Equatorial Guinea, Italy, Ethiopia, Chile, Nigeria, Kuwait, Cameroon, San Marino and Austria. Announcement of the Nixon visit dramatically strengthens the trend. In the fall of 1970, for the first time, a majority in the General Assembly voted that the Peking government was entitled to the Chinese seat in the United
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