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August 30, 1978

Evaluation by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of the Normalization of US-Chinese Relations

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation

30 August 1978 Confidential!

[handwritten notes:] “Circulation Politburo, EH [Erich Honecker] 31.08.‘78”
“filed. 10.10.‘78”

The Central Committee of the CPSU wants to elaborate on the question of the Chinese-American rapprochement within the context of an exchange of views.

The tendency to activate the relationship between the United States and the PRC becomes increasingly stronger within the Chinese leadership and the American administration. It aims at the realization of their aggressive plans against the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries, against the communist and the national liberation movement.

For some time already Beijing has propagated the idea of creating an “united front” with imperialism and the reaction. Currently the special notion is that the relationship with the United States plays a more and more active part within this ”front”. Beijing demonstrates in every respect its willingness to a close collaboration with Washington, including the creation of a global strategic alliance between the PRC and the United States - if not in form, at least in essence - on the basis of joint action against the Soviet Union and the entire socialist community.

It is the purpose of China’s rapprochement with the USA to compensate for its in fact weak opportunities and positions in the fight against the Soviet Union and the socialist countries, as well as in the international arena as such. Furthermore it wants to secure Western support for the modernization and expansion of its military-economic potential, and thwart detente.

American efforts to take advantage of Beijing’s anti-socialist course has already been a basic element of American politics in the past. Today, within the context of some international problems, the Americans strive to make maximum use of the “internal stabilization”, which they believe to have become apparent, and of the, according to Hua Guofeng, “common elements” of Chinese and American actions. Attempts of the Carter Administration to “play the Chinese card” aim at imposing political pressure on the Soviet Union, the socialist community, and on the forces of national liberation. They are supposed to secure the interests of American imperialism in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and to achieve concessions in the negotiations on limitations of strategic arms and in other important international matters.

Military-political aspects of the Chinese-American rapprochement require special attention. Influential political lobbies in the United States believe that China should be exploited as a military counterbalance to the Soviet Union to an extent corresponding to the national interests of the United States. They try to set in motion a “reasonable” military cooperation with China and to ease the restrictions for selling modern technology and equipment to China which is suitable for military purposes.

Officially the American administration took a reserved stance on the question of military cooperation with China. Obviously they understood that American activities in this respect could trigger a decisive reaction from our side. President Carter and Secretary of State Vance assured us that “they would not allow the American-Chinese relations to become an obstacle to the development of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States.”

The United States, however, started in fact to sell modern equipment from the so-called “grey area” to China, this means equipment which could be used for either civil or military purposes.

Washington basically encouraged its allies to supply military technology, and in some cases even military equipment, to Beijing. At the Paris plenary meeting of the Western European Union, the NATO allies of the United States -the members of the WEU- have tried to pass a recommendation to sell arms to China. As a result of the diplomatic demarche of the USSR, and the pressure of progressive Western European public opinion, this recommendation was turned down. However, the plenary assembly voted for increased “economical and technological cooperation with China”. The trade agreement between the PR China and the EEC offers China the opportunity of access to military equipment and strategic material from NATO. The expansion of China’s military potential with the help of imperialist countries poses an ever increasing threat to the socialist countries and to peace in the world considering Beijing’s doctrine of the “inevitability of a new World War”.

In an article for the occasion of the anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army, the Chinese Minister of Defense and Member of the Politburo of the CC of the CCP, Xu Xiangquian, called “war” a “normal phenomenon” and claimed that “the Third World War could start any day”. He called for “action from the position of revolutionary forces” and promised support to all those who “fight” against world socialism “with determination”. Hua Guofeng bluntly declared that the rise of China’s military power would be the “safest guarantee for the victory” of the so called “truly revolutionary forces of the world”.

Certain anti-Soviet commonalities between the leadership in Beijing and representatives of the administration in Washington were confirmed in May this year by talks between Chinese leaders and the National Security Adviser of the American president, Z. Brzezinski. Brzezinski stressed the American interest in a “strong China”, as well as the intention to come to a full normalization of American-Chinese relations. Deng Xiaoping, on his part, talked about the accordance of the strategic interests of the PR of China and the United States and mentioned the Chinese interest in acquiring American arms. Actually they hatched a plot in Beijing which led to a stage of political decay of the Chinese leadership - a stage of direct joint venture between Chinese social-chauvinists and American imperialists in the fight against socialism and peace.

A full normalization of Chinese-American relations is currently obstructed by the unresolved question of Taiwan. According to information available, however, Carter has decided to achieve full normalization by the end of this year, or early next year, if China agrees to certain concessions. The United States told China that there are three conditions for the settling of the Taiwan problem:

- The United States will continue to trade with Taiwan and will also further support Taiwan, including providing military aid after the normalization of relations with the PR of China;

- The United States will establish a so-called “bureau” in Taiwan instead of an embassy;

- Beijing “indicates” that it would refrain from any aggression towards Taiwan.

American government officials are confident that China can agree to the first two conditions. With regard to the renunciation of force, the Americans would be satisfied, according to their own words, with a one-sided declaration by Beijing, rendered in a form acceptable to the Chinese.

According to American assessments, China is more interested in mutual rapprochement than the United States. Washington considers such Chinese actions as the provocations against Vietnam, the reckless outbursts against the politics of Cuba, Huang Hua’s trip to Zaire, the military support for Mobuto, and the support for Sadat’s maneuvers of surrender, as indications for China having the correct understanding of what is expected.

Although Brzezinski’s trip revealed some disagreements in points of view and some contradictions, which have to be taken advantage of in the interest of peace and socialism, it still demonstrated that Washington and Beijing continue to look for ways to turn their “parallel interests” into practical policy and start to coordinate their activities in various regions of the world. Therefore, on the eve of resuming peace and friendship treaty negotiations between China and Japan, both, the Chinese and the Americans, exerted pressure on the Japanese so they would agree to a “hegemonial clause” against Vietnam and the Soviet Union in the text of the treaty.

The United States and the PR of China actually already maintain a certain division of labor: The Americans are more active in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, while the Chinese are more engaged in Southeast Asia. But their efforts follow the same direction - against socialism, against progressive change, against detente.

The bloc formation between Beijing and Washington is directed against the vital interests of the countries of the socialist community. In their own respective ways, both, Beijing and Washington, use the same tactics of the so-called “differentiating approach” which aims to undermine the unity of the socialist community, to sow mistrust and provoke disagreement between socialist countries.

The Soviet Union is convinced that the attempt by Washington and Beijing to put pressure on the USSR and other countries of the socialist community will not succeed. We told Washington that Soviet-American relations will suffer, if the United States exploits and develops relations with China, especially in military areas, to the disadvantage of the USSR and their allies. The Soviet Union will continue to expose and thwart any attempt of Chinese-American rapprochement being used against individual socialist countries, against peace and against the security of peoples.

International détente corresponds with the basic interests of people in all the countries in the world, is supported by them, and opposes the alliance between Beijing and imperialism. The struggle for détente by the Soviet Union, the other socialist countries, and all progressive forces has led to positive changes in the world. This process will be even more successful, the more the progressive forces are opposing the dangerous, peace-threatening activities of the PR of China and the United States.

The intended Chinese-American alliance is not capable to undermine the unanimity and unity of the socialist countries. However, it would be wrong to ignore these attempts. It takes activity, coordination and determination in our joint actions.

The plot of the leadership in Beijing with imperialism is against the very own interests of the Chinese people. Therefore it will inevitably lead to clashes between the Communist Party of China and Chinese society.

Beijing’s alliance with imperialist forces has deep internal contradictions. To the extent the plot becomes more intense, Beijing’s striving for hegemony will collide with the interests of the imperialist forces. Not only neighboring countries of China, but also other countries in Asia or Africa, could be involved in these clashes which would be contrary to the interests of their people.

We consider it necessary that our parties and countries make use of all the political and ideological means available to them for the fight against the current serious danger - the creation of an “united front” between Beijing and imperialism and the reaction - and to mobilize for actions against the plot of the Chinese leadership with reactionary American forces. And we hope that the fraternal parties and the socialist countries will commit their potentials to this purpose.

In this evaluation of Chinese-US rapprochement, elaborated by the Central Committee (CC) of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), Moscow states that Beijing is going to great lengths to demonstrate its willingness to cooperate closely with Washington, including through the creation of a global strategic alliance between China and the US against the Soviet Union and the entire Socialist community. Moscow urges its Eastern European allies to make use of all political and ideological means available to fight against the creation of a unified front between China and the US.

Document Information


Included in the document reader for the international conference "China and the Warsaw Pact in the 1970-1980s" held by CWHIP and the Parallel History Project March 2004 in Beijing. Obtained for CWIHP by Bernd Schaefer and translated for CWIHP by Karen Riechert.


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