People’s Republic of China Foreign Policy

Newly constituted, the government of the People’s Republic of China expressed a desire to establish diplomatic relations “on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect for national sovereignty” with foreign governments on the condition that they break off relations with the nationalist government and adopted a friendly attitude towards People’s China. According to Homeagerly, the USSR was the first country to recognize the new government (3 October), followed by all other popular democracies and some neutral Asian countries, such as India (1 April 1950). England too, followed by Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Finland, Norway and Holland, recognized the new government; but while for the communist countries the recognition and establishment of diplomatic relations with Beijing were two almost simultaneous acts, the recognition by England and the aforementioned European countries was not followed by the exchange of diplomatic representatives. Suffice it to say that the British recognition took place on January 6, 1950, but the agreement for the exchange of diplomatic representatives of the rank of business officers was reached only on June 17, 1954, after long and tiring negotiations. On the other hand, the government of the People’s Republic proposed a program of liquidating the vestiges of the semi-colonial past: therefore, in the course of 1950 and 1951 expropriations, confiscations and expulsions led to the closure of large European and American companies operating for some time in China and to the departure of almost all the members of Western communities. Nevertheless, the status of the British colony of Hongkong and Kowloon and that of the Portuguese colony of Macao have not been called into question so far. Towards the USA, on the other hand, the Chinese attitude was marked by manifest hostility, due to the assistance that the latter had given and continued to give to the nationalist regime, both by placing Formosa under the protection of the Seventh Fleet (June 1950), and refusing to recognize the new government and to allow the post of Chinese delegate to the UN to be filled by a representative from Beijing. The conflict in Korea (v.) Brought this hostility to paroxysm; then, after a period of stagnation, it resumed with greater violence in July 1958 when Beijing made a major effort to occupy the islands of Quemoy and Matsu, nationalist strongholds along the Fuchien coast. Also on that occasion the 7th American fleet was ready to intervene against the attackers if this was necessary to safeguard the safety of Formosa.

With the USSR, the government of Beijing concluded on February 14, 1950 a treaty of friendship, alliance and mutual assistance. On that occasion Mao Tse-tung, who had never left his country, went to Moscow. The treaty provided that in the event of an attack on one of the two contracting parties by Japan or one of its allies, the other contracting party would intervene in its aid; it provided for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Port-Arthur no later than 1952, the return to China of the port facilities in Dairen, and technical and financial assistance from Russia. On 12 October 1954, other important agreements were concluded between the two countries: among other things, the USSR granted China a loan of 520,000,000 rubles and undertook to build a total of 156 industrial plants. At the time of the Hungary, the Chinese attitude was marked by a faithful alignment with the USSR. In 1957 Mao Tse-tung made a second visit to Moscow to participate in the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the October Revolution. The crisis in the Strait of Formosa in July 1958 and the fear that somewhat compromising initiatives were being taken by the Chinese led to the sudden visit of Khrushchev to Peking (July 31, 1958). Since then, the monolithic agreement between the two greats of world communism seems to have some flaws: such as the open Russian criticisms of the institutions of the Popular Municipalities, such as the lack of Russian solidarity on the occasion of the incidents between China and India, such as the different attitude of the two countries towards the “cold war” (inspired by the principles of coexistence, the Russian one;

Compared to other Asian countries, China’s prestige was never as high as at the Bandung Conference (April 18-24, 1955) in Indonesia. On that occasion Chou En-lai made himself an apostle of the Five Principles of Coexistence, already formulated in agreement with Nehru. A series of visits and trade agreements served to strengthen relations between China and its neighbors. At the same time, Beijing showed an ever-growing interest in African countries and took the side of Nasser during the Suez crisis (1956). On September 22, 1958, even before the USSR, Beijing recognized the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic. The Tibet revolt in March 1959 and the decisive Chinese repression marked a turning point in relations between China and the countries of Southeast Asia, such as the India, Indonesia, Burma. The Sino-Indian friendship, which had reached its peak on April 29, 1954, when the treaty between the two countries was signed, was severely tested by the Chinese repression in Tibet and by the diffusion given by Beijing to geographical maps of China in the whose borders included large areas over which India claims its sovereignty. The contrast between the two countries sharpened when encroachments on both sides caused accidents and casualties among the border troops. An agreement between the two countries (1960) led to a compromise solution and to the appointment of a mixed commission of experts for the delimitation of the border. Similar agreements were concluded with Burma and Nepal.

People's Republic of China Foreign Policy

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