Jin Jiang Hotel, witness to the beginning of Sino-American relations

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Surrounded by the skyscrapers of Shanghai today, the Grand Lobby of the Jin Jiang Hotel was built in 1959. The lobby was renovated in 1998, so its structure is quite different from that of 50 years ago. It was in the hall that the Sino-American Joint Communique, also known as the Shanghai Communique, was signed in 1972.

In February 1972, then-US President Richard Nixon visited China, where he was accompanied by then-Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai. After Beijing and Hangzhou, Shanghai was their last stop, and the Jin Jiang Hotel was where Nixon was staying.

Although the structure of the building has changed, it still retains some rare old photos from that time.

The current lobby is where the Shanghai Communique was signed in 1972. /Courtesy of Jin Jiang Hotel

The current lobby is where the Shanghai Communique was signed in 1972. /Courtesy of Jin Jiang Hotel

Shao Yuqun, a senior fellow at the Center for American Studies at the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, said Shanghai was the most appropriate city to release the statement at the time.

“Shanghai is not the capital, it is not Beijing. At that time, China and the United States had not developed diplomatic relations. Thus, the capital Beijing was not the right place for both sides release the document,” Shao said.

The Shanghai Communiqué was issued on February 28, 1972, the last day of Nixon’s visit to China.

In the document, the two sides pledged that it is in the interest of all nations for China and the United States to work towards normalizing relations. The United States recognized Taiwan as part of China and said it wanted a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves.

The statement was the first joint statement that laid out the basics for the development of China-US relations.

US President Richard Nixon (right) and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai raise a toast at the Jin Jiang Hotel, Shanghai, China, February 1972. /Courtesy of the Jin Jiang Hotel

US President Richard Nixon (right) and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai raise a toast at the Jin Jiang Hotel, Shanghai, China, February 1972. /Courtesy of the Jin Jiang Hotel

“The statement said that countries should respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and will not interfere in each other’s internal affairs. This is very important. Second, bilateral relations should be based on equality. and mutual respect. And the goal is peaceful cooperation. These are the foundations of the future bilateral relationship,” Shao said.

It wasn’t until 1979, seven years after the Shanghai Communiqué was issued, that China and the United States officially established diplomatic relations. In addition, this joint document has played a role in encouraging other industrialized countries to establish relations with China.

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