This text is a U.S. government document that is published here online as a supplement to Interesting Times: China, America, and the Shifting Balance of Prestige, by Chas W. Freeman, Jr. (Just World Books, January 2013.) Other texts offered in this series can be accessed here.
Joint Communiqué of the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China
January 1, 1979
(The communiqué was released on December 15, 1978, in Washington and Beijing.)
- The United States of America and the People’s Republic of China have agreed to recognize each other and to establish diplomatic relations as of January 1, 1979.
- The United States of America recognizes the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China. Within this context, the people of the United States will maintain cultural, commercial, and other unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan.
- The United States of America and the People’s Republic of China reaffirm the principles agreed on by the two sides in the Shanghai Communique and emphasize once again that:
- Both wish to reduce the danger of international military conflict.
- Neither should seek hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region or in any other region of the world and each is opposed to efforts by any other country or group of countries to establish such hegemony.
- Neither is prepared to negotiate on behalf of any third party or to enter into agreements or understandings with the other directed at other states.
- The Government of the United States of America acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China.
- Both believe that normalization of Sino-American relations is not only in the interest of the Chinese and American peoples but also contributes to the cause of peace in Asia and the world.
The United States of America and the People’s Republic of China will exchange Ambassadors and establish Embassies on March 1, 1979.
Statement from President Carter
Diplomatic Relations Between the United States and the People’s Republic of China United States Statement.
December 15, 1978
As of January 1, 1979, the United States of America recognizes the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China. On the same date, the People’s Republic of China accords similar recognition to the United States of America. The United States thereby establishes diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China.
On that same date, January 1, 1979, the United States of America will notify Taiwan that it is terminating diplomatic relations and that the Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and the Republic of China is being terminated in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty. The United States also states that it will be withdrawing its remaining military personnel from Taiwan within four months.
In the future, the American people and the people of Taiwan will maintain commercial, cultural, and other relations without official government representation and without diplomatic relations.
The Administration will seek adjustments to our laws and regulations to permit the maintenance of commercial, cultural, and other non-governmental relationships in the new circumstances that will exist after normalization.
The United States is confident that the people of Taiwan face a peaceful and prosperous future. The United States continues to have an interest in the peaceful resolution of the Taiwan issue and expects that the Taiwan issue will be settled peacefully by the Chinese themselves.
The United States believes that the establishment of diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic will contribute to the welfare of the American people, to the stability of Asia where the United States has major security and economic interest, and to the peace of the entire world.
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