ISAFISPEAK #3 : US-China Ping Pong Diplomacy

Published by ISAFIS on

Do you know that there’s an unique diplomacy called Ping Pong diplomacy between US and China that succeed in balancing the relationship between the two nation?

On this third ISAFISPEAK, we have gathered the opinion from our members on this unique diplomacy.


“There is still another way between the US & China to improve their relationship. The contestation of the two great powers occurring in the current era is only about not fulfilling their respective national interests due to the high ego power of each of them. One day, the tension of competition between the US and China will decrease if they meet each other’s relative gains and take interdependent actions, such as the Ping Pong Diplomacy.”

“While the handshake between Glenn Cowan and Zhuang Zedong could be seen as (possibly!) the earliest two-track diplomacy gesture between the US and the PRC, it was definitely a fruitful opportunity for the two countries to diffuse their Cold War-backed tension. When the Sino-Soviet alliance tensed, both countries had thought of establishing a better relationship, even had private dialogues. I think the handshake, which eventually turned to the historic China visit, was a stimulant to an improved PRC-US relationship. Hadn’t the Ping Pong Diplomacy taken place, the two countries could still refine their relationship in other ways, though it does seem like the perfect start.”

“Although Ping Pong Diplomacy was quite integral in bettering the relationship between US and China. I personally don’t think that their relationship solely depends on it. China was looking for a move that could open the barrier to initiate a relationship with the US and I think they would find other innovative ways to do so, like Panda Diplomacy. Moreover, Ping Pong Diplomacy itself was a fruitful coincidence that allows the US and China to publicly declare their relationship and who’s to say they wouldn’t have used another opportunity if it was never initiated?”

“I think the US-China relations would eventually better in the 1970s even if Ping Pong Diplomacy never happened in the first place. At that era, both of countries have a common interest: balance Soviet domination in the Cold War so they would, eventually, cooperate with each other against The Soviet Union. Ping Pong Diplomacy, therefore, is not the determining factor; it’s the event that sped up the cooperation between China and US.”