The Diplomacy of High-Level Visits During the Twilight of Maoism, 1973–77
In the final years of Maoism, cooperation with Europe gained in importance for China. While relations with the USA were stagnating, the Chinese leadership, increasingly concerned about a possible war with the Soviet Union, looked for allies in Western Europe. Against this background, Albers shows how Britain made rapid progress in its relations with the PRC, at least until Edward Heath lost the election of 1974. France could benefit from the successes of Charles de Gaulle’s earlier policies but ultimately decided to value détente with the USSR higher than its ties with China. West Germany under Helmut Schmidt likewise focused on cordial relations with the Soviet Union. But thanks to its economic potential and strategic position, it nevertheless became China’s main partner in Europe.