After the founding of the People's Republic of China, the US government "watched" for a short period of time before following a "no- recognition" policy for more than 20 years. In the late 1960s, when great changes took place in the world situation, both governments of China and the United States readjusted their diplomatic policies, including the policies on bilateral relations, and in order to improve the mutual relationship, they began to test and contact each other.
In 1970, China and the United States resumed talks on the ambassador level. In July and October, 1971, Dr. Henry Kissinger, national security advisor to the president of the United States, twice visited China in secret to pave the way for the visit by President Richard Nixon. President Nixon visited China on February 21, 1972. On February 27, the two countries issued the Sino-US Joint Communiqué, marking the opening of the gate for bilateral relations.
On December 16, 1978, both the Chinese and American governments simultaneously published the Joint Communiqué of the People's Republic of China and the United States Concerning the Establishment of Their Diplomatic Relations. In the Communiqué, the US Government accepts the three principles raised by China for establishing diplomatic relations, namely (the United States) cutting off diplomatic relations with Taiwan, withdrawing its armed forces and military facilities from Taiwan and annulling the treaties signed by the United States and the Chiang Kai-shek regime. Starting from January 1, 1979, the two countries officially established diplomatic relations, marking a historic turning point in the bilateral relations. From then on, the Sino-US relationship entered a new stage.
The establishment of a diplomatic relationship opened a channel for exchange and co-operation between China and the United States. However, the bilateral relations have travelled an uneven path. During the past 30 years, the Sino-US relations have been advancing although there have been ups and downs in the relationship. The mutual visits by leaders of both countries and discussions between high officials have been maintained. Advancement has also been achieved by the two countries in their exchanges and co-operation in the fields of trade, science and technology, culture, education and military affairs.