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France Establishes Diplomatic Relations with Communist China

Jan. 27, 1964 - President Charles de Gaulle of France broke today with the United States policy of isolating Communist China and announced the establishment of diplomatic relations between the French Government and Peking. France’s recognition of the Communist regime was the first by any major power since the Korean War began nearly 14 years ago. The step was hailed by Gaullists as an example of France’s independence and as a move toward closer relations with another great independent power. For the moment, the President has established a “two Chinas” policy. If this situation remains, France will become the only major Western power with full diplomatic representation in the Chinese Communist and Nationalist capitals. A French official asserted that in negotiating the terms of recognition, France made no commitment on Communist China’s representation in the United Nations.

In an official statement, the United States expressed regret over France’s actions and said it was particularly unfortunate that it came at a time when the Chinese Communists were “promoting aggression and subversion.” The State Department statement added that the U.S. would “stand firmly by its commitments” to Nationalist China, South Vietnam, and “all other countries in our common endeavor to prevent and deter aggression and to promote the interests of peace.” A State Department official said that recognition of Peking by a major Western power such as France can only enhance Chinese Communist prestige among the relatively weak, nonaligned countries of Asia, and that it would be detrimental to U.S. efforts to bolster and help defend countries in the area, especially South Vietnam.


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