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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Taiwan Strait Crises

 The Taiwan Strait Crises of 1954-1955 and 1958 were short, climactic episodes in which the People's Republic of China shelled offshore islands between the mainland and Taiwan. (Image, PLA forces on the Yijiangshan Islands during the First Taiwan Strait Crisis)

  • July 27, 1954

    Telegram, CCP Central Committee to Zhou Enlai, Concerning Policies and Measures in the Struggle against the United States and Jiang Jieshi after the Geneva Conference

    In this telegram, the CCP discusses policies and measures taken to break up the US-Chiang treaty, and to liberate Taiwan. The CCP describes its propaganda efforts and efforts to enhance naval and air forces.

  • July 29, 1954

    Memorandum of Conversation, between Soviet Premier Georgy M. Malenkov and Zhou Enlai

    Soviet Premier Georgy M. Malenkov and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai discuss the incidents between China and Taiwan, the US’s support of Taiwan, and the US bloc in the South Pacific. They contemplate various means through which China could prevent further provocations by Taiwan and how to break apart the American bloc. Zhou Enlai also offers suggestions concerning the elections in Korea that would help accomplish Soviet goals for the area.

  • February 23, 1955

    Cable from Huan Xiang, 'Indian Premier Nehru’s View on Resolving the Taiwan Issue'

  • May 27, 1955

    Summary of the Views of Afro-Asian Countries on the Taiwan Issue at the Afro-Asian Conference

    The People's Republic of China maintains that the Taiwan issue was an internal issue of China, and it was the US who created tension by invading and occupying Taiwan.

  • May 31, 1956

    Memorandum of Conversation from Premier Zhou Enlai's Reception of Ambassador R.K. Nehru

    Premier Zhou Enlai and Ambassador Nehru discuss the Korean ceasefire, the role of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Committee, the Sino-American ambassadorial talks, and the situation in Indochina.

  • June 13, 1957

    Cable from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, 'Premier Zhou’s Conversation with Ambassador Nehru'

    Premier Zhou Enlai and Indian Ambassador Ratan Kumar Nehru exchanged views on Taiwan Incident and situation in West Asia.

  • July 27, 1958

    Letter, Mao Zedong to Peng Dehuai and Huang Kecheng

    Mao Zedong decides to deplay the planned bombardment of the nationalist-controlled Jinmen Island in the Taiwan Strait.

  • August 18, 1958

    Instructions, Mao Zedong to Peng Dehuai

    Mao instructs Chinese Minister of National Defense Peng Dehuai to hault military maneuvers and prepare air forces for the planned bombardment of Jinmen Island in the Taiwan Strait.

  • August 23, 1958

    Memoir by Wu Lengxi, 'Inside Story of the Decision Making during the Shelling of Jinmen'

    Wu Lengxi, a member of the CCP Central Committee, recalls events in August 1958 when Chinese Communist forces along the Fujian coast began an intensive artillery bombardment of the Nationalist-controlled Jinmen Island. He recalls a Politburo Standing Committee meeting in which Mao states that the bombardment was in part motivated by events in the Middle East.

  • September 05, 1958

    Speech, Mao Zedong at the Fifteenth Meeting of the Supreme State Council (excerpt)

    Mao Zedong speaks about American foreign policy and the tense international situation following the Chinese decision to begin shelling Jinmen Island in the Taiwan Strait.

  • September 08, 1958

    Speech, Mao Zedong at the Fifteenth Meeting of the Supreme State Council (excerpt)

    Mao speaks about the strategy behind the bombardment of nationalist-controlled Jinmen Island in the Taiwan Strait, stating that Taiwan is a "is a steel noose and it ties America’s neck."

  • September 10, 1958

    Telegram, Mao Zedong to Ho Chi Minh

    Mao informs Ho Chi Minh that he should not be concerned by the Chinese bombardment of Jinmen Island, as "the Americans are afraid of fighting a war."

  • September 13, 1958

    Letter, Mao Zedong to Zhou Enlai and Huang Kecheng

    Mao sends instructions about the shelling of Jinmen Island in the Taiwain Strait.

  • September 19, 1958

    Letter, Mao Zedong to Zhou Enlai

    Mao responds to a letter from Zhou Enlai summarizing the Chinese-American ambassadorial meeting in Warsaw September 15 on the Taiwan Strait crisis.

  • September 27, 1958

    Letter, Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to the Chinese Communist Party, on the Soviet Union's Readiness to Provide Assistance to China in the Event of an Attack

    In the wake of the Taiwan Strait Crisis, the Soviet Union promises to intervene in the event of a nuclear attack on China from the United States.

  • October 02, 1958

    Memorandum of Conversation of Mao Zedong with Six Delegates of the Socialist Countries, China, 2 October 1958

    To the other delegates, Mao discusses their shared goal of defeating imperialism, primarily through peaceful methods. He stresses widespread Marxist reeducation of the Chinese people and increased Chinese industrial and agricultural production as means for improvement. Mao also reminds them that socialist nations must be firmly united under the leadership of the Soviet Union to fight colonialism and imperialism, and while the communes are necessary to organize locally, the party remains the core administrative unite of communized peoples.

  • October 05, 1958

    Letter, Mao Zedong to Huang Kecheng and Peng Dehuai

    Mao sends instructions for a temporary cease to the shelling of Jinmen Island.

  • October 05, 1958

    Meeting Minutes, Zhou Enlai’s Conversation with S.F. Antonov on the Taiwan Issue (excerpt)

    Speaking with Soviet Charge d'Affaires Antonov, Zhou Enlai analyzes the American response to the Chinese bombing of Jinmen Island.

  • October 06, 1958

    Letter, Mao Zedong to Huang Kecheng and Peng Dehuai

    Mao decides to broadcast a statement to Taiwan about the shelling of Jinmen Island.

  • October 11, 1958

    Telegram, Mao Zedong to Zhou Enlai

    Mao sends instructions to Zhou Enlai, asking him to send information to the Soviets about the number of planes that were short down during air engagements in the Taiwan Strait. He adds that "[the Soviets] should sell ground-to-air missiles to us, and let us control the employment of them."