By Robert Sutter
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Additional resources for Historical Dictionary of United States-China Relations
The US administration firmly backed the Chinese Nationalists and their Republic of China (ROC), though US forces helped Nationalist forces on some exposed islands to withdraw. The Taiwan Strait crisis of 1955 raised fears of renewed US–China war. Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai used the venue of the Afro-Asian Conference in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955 to ease tensions and call for talks with the United States. Chinese leaders at this time attempted to engage in high-level dialogue with the United States.
The US resolve to help China and oppose Japan stiffened in the year prior to Pearl Harbor and American entry into the war. That year, the American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers) provided air defense for Nationalist Chinese areas and lend-lease aid was approved for China. US–CHINA RELATIONS DURING WORLD WAR II, CHINESE CIVIL WAR The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor thrust the United States into a leadership position in China and in global affairs. qxd 10/11/05 6:48 AM Page xlix INTRODUCTION • xlix would determine the post-war international order.
In general, American political leaders dealing with China throughout the 20th century tended to refer to the Open Door Policy in positive terms, as a US attempt to prevent China from being carved up into commercially impenetrable foreign colonies. Chinese interpretations often emphasized that Americans were more concerned about maintaining their own commercial access and were prepared to do little in practice in supporting Chinese sovereignty. American officials also were active in the late 19th century pressing the Chinese government to protect American and other missionaries and their converts subjected to frequent attacks often fomented by Chinese local elites.
Historical Dictionary of United States-China Relations by Robert Sutter