Friday December 2, 2022

Connect with USCPF

In February 1972, President Nixon made a groundbreaking trip to China that soon became known as “The Week that Changed the World.” At the end of the trip, the U.S. and China issued the Shanghai Communiqué, which would form the basis for U.S.-China rapprochement and, ultimately, normalization. The lasting legacy of the trip and the Shanghai Communiqué continue to shape the landscape of U.S.-China relations today, 50 years later.

Join us as we reflect on this anniversary, examine its historical context, share first-hand accounts and archival footage from the trip itself, explain the drafting and impact of the Shanghai Communiqué, and explore the greater legacy of this trip within the context of normalization and U.S.-China relations today. As the U.S.-China relationship faces a period of increased tension and uncertainty, it is more important than ever to look back at how the relationship evolved and remember this key chapter in U.S.-China diplomacy and engagement.


Dr. David M. Lampton
Senior Fellow, SAIS Foreign Policy Institute

Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr.
U.S. interpreter during Nixon trip

Ms. Tang Wensheng
PRC interpreter during Nixon trip

Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy
U.S. Ambassador to China (1991-1995)
Participated in normalization negotiations

Archival footage from the Nixon Presidential Library