IM: SIGNS OF LIFE IN CHINESE FOREIGN POLICY

Created: 4/11/1970

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INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate ;of!- :

INTELLIGENCE MEMORANDUM

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I . Signs of Life in Chinese Foreign Policy

; i Peking's decision around the turn of theo;enter into negotiations with its two major enemie:USSR and the US, has been accompaniedral renaissance,of Chinese diplomatic activity. Most notably< the Chinese havepen attitude toward improving diplomatic !relations with several states formerlyfroradevelopment first apparent last; Itober when Pekingpecial effort to patch j!ts "strained relations with North'Vietnam andNorthince that:.time, the Chinese; have j signaled other attempts to broaden their diplomatic appeal and have jevenillingness to con-sider modifyingiChina's bitter opposition to,the Ne Win regimei

if still unclear, period In Chinese

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These signs of new vigor remain tentative and may represent little moreelated return !from the Red Guard diplomacy'o normal diplomatic activity. Seen within the barren context of Chinese foreign|policy during the past three! years, ihowever, they mayt signal .the beginning off still{unclear, period in Chinese foreign policy

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was prepared by.the Office of Currenti The-Office', of National Estimates vaeinrafting and is in general agreement

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'1. Peking-has predictably focused much of its

new-found ;diplomatic energy in neighboringountries where Chinese influence and interests aremoatop priority seems to have been jlgiven to repairing; Peking's relations with Hanoi,'

which had boon strained since the start of the Paris Following Chou En-lai's attendanceHo iChi Minn's funeral last Septembereries

of high-level meetings with Vietnamese!

officials during China's:National Day ceremoniesfollowing month, Peking altered its previously '

implacable opposition:to Hanoi'si participation at;the Paris peace talks and for the first time ac- ;

knowledges the Vietnamesepoint .peacelthough differences betweenand Hanoi over war;policy remain, at least the facadeSino-Vietnam unity has been refurbished.

j' At;the same time/ the Chinese wereo their other estranged Communist neighbor., A; thaw first! became noticeable last October J'.when Pyongyangigh-level; delegation tontend: China's;'National Day celebrations. ew ambassador to Pyongyang in; and the widely touted visitjof Chou En-lai'there |this;;month exemplify the marked improvement in1 that has developed within the past six months.

{: n another interesting change of form,hinese for the first time inear appear to isome signs of interest in improvingations withonciliatory speech by President Ne Win and the release ofverseas hinese detainees by Rangoon last November, theEmbassy: in Rangoon invited high-ranking Burmese {authorities to an1 official dinner. This wasup in December by an unusually: friendly chat etweencharge* in Pekingice foreign minister. The Chinese officialhope for improved relations between theese and Burmese "peopleV-language seldom heard j

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since Sino-Burmese relations deteriorated in the summerince then Chinese propaganda has generally' avoided Its customary provocative blasts against the "Fascist Ne Winnd in early January the Chinese for-the first time in three ears publicly reported in Peking Burma's National

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hina's!recent efforts 'in Asi tended as far aslthough Pek to feature pro-Peking Ceylon Communist ments (presumably for their anti-Sovie the Chinese early last February public attention to Ceylon's National Day for time in threeore tangib of improved bilateral relationsa few Peking announced that it wouldpinning mill infirst thereUb- ft!

I ing continues

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the first j! le evidence

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, j;i The new -look in Chinese diplomacy1 has by; -no means been .limited to Asia. In recent monthsI Peking has-demonstrated increasing flexibility andareas where thejudge ithere is profit to'be made atxpense. KAjigc-od'example|Was! Choii En-lai'si public!letter of support !to President Nasir followingraeli air attacksivilian Egyptianast' February. This was [the first major Chinese propaganda: support'lofi an;Arab government (asinguished from Arab "people? and the Fedayeen)* jsince the:six-day war Althoughefforts tolplay on Egyptian-Soviet differences are inoto get far, Chou's letter and subsequent Chinese' propaganda in support of thej helped jimprove Peking's tarnished iimage 'among the Arab !

6. The Chinese are /also showing renewed.in Easternsensitive area of Soviet: policy J Peking early this year showed some nimble footwork by harshly condemningest German contacts at East Germanhinese 'maneuvering;in Eastern Europe has even extended tostate the Chinese rightly consider to

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ibe the number-one sycophant of Soviet "revisionism.

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igns of new life in Chinesehave bean;long in coming. Since the fallhen Red Guard extremists were dislodged from their positions of authority in the Foreign Ministry, China watchers have predicted andlear-cut trendore positive Chinese diplomatic approach. 8 andhere were indications of movement toward more normal diplomatic practices, but progress was slow, halting, and suffered many falsa starts. Chinese ethnocentrism, bitterness over past diplomatic failures, and Maoist ideology--'! factors that have always hindered positive Chineseoverriding constraints in, Peking's politically charged atmosphere^ esult, most Chinese diplomatic action remained confined to amall handfultates; that'in general}wareacceptable to'Peking and were willing to retain good relations with China despite theuptions of the Cultural Revolution.

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8. During the spring and summerthe increasingly menacing Soviet military buildup in the Par East and the deteriorating military situation |along the Sino-Soviet border brought into

'focusChinsae leadership the full extent of China's domestic weakness and internationalandharp change in Peking'sroach to'foreign affairs. The Soviet threat,

;aside from forcing Peking to the conference table*

with the USSR, prompted China toar greater priority to improving its diplomatic posi-

isin short, to! resume the !

(diplomatic of fensivs.,

1 i. 9'i'j1 Peking's rationale and motivation weresecret directive sent out lastby!Premier Chou En-lai that, in part, calledore flexible stance in Chinese diplomacy in rder to protect China's international position against Moscow. Chou implied, for example, thatwould agree to resume talks with the US inso as to keep the Soviets off balance and deflect

.the Russian threat against China. He added that the Chinese >ould follow "flexible tactics" abroad in order to set Moscow and Washington against one another and to increase China's international Chou alto strongly implied, however, that Peking-intended to make no substantive change in its

[foreign policy, that it would continue firmly to uphold'longstanding "revolutionary principles" while

imited flexible!approach abroad.

^where is Chinese1 Diplomacy Going?

H'lO; The key question;.ofJcourse, is how far' .China will go'in its new approach. Will the still tentative Chines* foreign initiatives remain only tactical reactions or will they develop enough momentum of their own to propel Chinaandungf foreign affairs? n other words, Pekingimustsr up the pragmatism, tolerance, and conscious effort required fully to re-enter he mainstream of international diplomacy? This :

will depend heavily on Peking's perception of the Soviet threat.

!ignificant1 reduction of Soviet pressure could quickly deflate China's currantctivism. To date, however, neither side has shown 'itsalf ready to meet the other's demands at the long-stalled Sino-Soviet border talks. On balance, the continuing buildup of Soviet military along the Chinese border, together with continuing efforts by Moscow to isolate China diplomatically,rovide Peking with all tho incentive it needsontinue the development of more normalctivity. Rogardless of the degree of Sovietowever, China's diplomacy still faces Maoist

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iii ideology and kindred domestic politicalobstacles that have stymied China's foreignfor,the past several years.

Peking's strong'ideological aversion to North Korea's continued cordial ties with thei and Pyongyang's well-publicized ideological inde-from both Moscow and Peking, forwere instrumental inorereconciliation in Sino-Korean relations lastIj Past disputes and outstanding bilateralwill also hinder improvedumber of other states. Concessions byPeking that could improve its relations with| for instance, will no doubt be impeded by! continued bitterness over Burma's support forriots in Rangoon in

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13. Another:constraint to Chinese diplomatic flexibility is the sheer weight of more] problems that the Peking 'leadershiprucialegotiations:with' the USSR and the US, together wit] important -domestic^programs such as the "war;ampaign, .party .rebuilding, andnd administrative recovery, almost certainlyontinue to 'preoccupy Peking. Moreover, Peking ap-

spears tohortage of politically! personnel .trained in foreign affairs and. for[duty on :diplomatic assignments. Ideologicalnd 'political requirements involving extensive 1 labor and political! re-indoctrination!sessionsoreign; ministry; professionals andiplomats will;probably result in significant gaps in China's future-attention to foreign affairs.

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i All these limiting factors areby! .What seems to be continuing disagreement andissatisfaction in Peking1 over China's currentign'line.; In the past, tthe more radical,doctrinaire members ofeadership,that China's revolutionary credentials night be put in jeopardy, have opposed significantommodation and flexibility in Chinese foreign pol-'ihis opposition may have again surfaced last

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: fall when Peking was grappling with initiatives from both the USSR and the US to engage in negotiations.

ave of broadcasts* ostensibly focusing on cultural criticism, seemed, in fact, to be oblique expressions

I of dissatisfaction with China's new flexibleapproach towardMoscowandWashington. In addition, |

last January that wall posteranao^Ippeared threatening to "strike down"

j! anyone opposing Choupossible indi- .

I cation thatpparent strong role in China's

{'current dealings with the Soviets and the USand foreign affairs in generalwithin the leadership and necessitatedsign of support,

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n the face of Peking's overridingver the Soviet threat, however, the effect of these j; political and ideological constraints woulde no more than to slow down or perhaps halt tempo-li rarily the current trend of Chinese diplomacy. Ini fact, the relative success that Peking has achieved j; with ita new diplomatic approach over the past six ij months may prod the Chinese toward even more ex- ! tensive diplomatic initiatives abroad. Pekingertainly aware that its current diplomaticstands in favorable1 contrast to China's isolated position when it was faced with the possibilityl disastrous war last summer. The Chinese have managed li in jthis period to forestall Soviet military pressure,mprove their relations with the us and key neigh-;oring states, and oven compromise differences inong-stalled recognition'negotiations with! ij The Canadian talks could.eventuallyi nifleant movement toward; recognition of China| number of Western states, and perhaps resulti reversal of China's fortunes in the UN.'! i'

Nevertheless, any prolonged Chineseoffensive similar to Peking's outgoingmovement in the, will remain at bast only one of many long-range futureies, jThe past three years of internal turmoil during the Cultural Revolution have significantly weakened China's domestic cohesion, increasedbaaic feeling of weakness in influencing

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/international affairs, and, moat importantly, have accentuated the traditionally reactive nature of Chinese foreign policy. esult, Chinese

|diplomacy over the long term will probably not be based on well-planned initiatives developed by Peking but will remain responsive to circumstances determined by externalSoviet and US intentions toward China, the emerging balance of power in East and Southeasta possible change in Chinese leadership when Mao, nownd in uncertain health, leaves the scene. In short,Peking's diplomatic focus against Sovietis clear for now, -Chinese foreign policy is essentially builtouse of cards that could tumble or shift significantly over the next fewubstantial alteration in Peking's present foreign approach could, therefore, result.

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