and Taiwan, China’s enemies, and actively engaged in Vietnam. Over the courseof three years, from 1969 through 1971, top-ranking PLA generals and Pre-mier Zhou Enlai convinced Mao that rapprochement with the United Stateswould help avert a possible war with the Soviet Union, whom they saw as abigger threat. Thus Chinese diplomats were instructed to respond cautiouslybut positively when the American Nixon administration worked to open con-tacts. As President Richard Nixon (1913–94) and his national security ad-viser Henry Kissinger (b. 1923) were equally interested in “playing the Chinacard” against the Soviet Union and laying the groundwork for an Americanwithdrawal from Vietnam, Zhou knew that a deal was possible.With Nixon’s visit to China in 1972, the two countries built a new rela-tionship based on their common enmity toward the Soviet Union. Americaand China entered into agreements on intelligence sharing and monitoring ofSoviet nuclear tests. In the Shanghai Communiqué (27 February 1972), signedby Nixon and Mao Zedong, the two sides emphasized common interests.Areas of disagreement, particularly on the issue of Taiwan, were set to oneside, with the Chinese side stating that “Taiwan is a province of China” and theUnited States acknowledging that “all Chinese on either side of the TaiwanStrait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China.”61The opening of unofficial relations with the United States in 1972 (formaldiplomatic recognition did not come until 1979) brought with it a smallThe Red Guard Generation: From Revolution to Disillusion223Mao Zedong and Richard Nixon.