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West Lake, the Destination of the Breakthrough Visit of President Richard Nixon 2019-08-01

The week, dated Feb. 21, 1972 to Feb. 28, 1972, is historically dubbed ‘the trip that breaks the ice', which ended the 25 years of total hostility and isolation between China and the US. It’s ‘the week that changed the world’ that’s how President Richard Nixon put it. During this significant trip to China, Hangzhou was one of the three destinations that President Richard Nixon visited, along with Beijing, capital of RPC and Shanghai, the largest city in China. Shanghai, for issuing Shanghai Communiqué – the significant result of President Nixon’s Visit to China and the basis of Sino-American bilateral relations even now, has been remembered ever since, while strictly speaking, Hangzhou, a scenic city 200 km away from Shanghai, is the actual place where the Shanghai Communiqué came into shape. According to President Richard Nixon in his second trip to Hangzhou, ‘The historic document actually came into shape in Hangzhou on Feb.26 and was then released on Feb, 29 in Shanghai.


President Richard Nixon and Premier Chou En-lai in Flower Pond Park


On that particular day, Feb. 26, 1972, instead taking his own plane, President Nixon and the First Lady were taken to Hangzhou in Premier Chou’s private plane. Upon their arrival, they were escorted to West Lake State Guest House on the edge of West Lake. That afternoon, accompanied by Premier Chou En-lai, President Nixon and the First Lady visited Flower Pond Park and boated on West Lake, discussing the details of Shanghai Communiqué while enjoying the scenery of West Lake. Precious photos were left behind to record these precious moments.


In addition, on his 1972 visit to Hangzhou, President Nixon gifted Hangzhou four precious Redwood Saplings from his hometown California. Redwood is the most ancient and tallest tree species in the world that can live over 3,000 years, aptly used to symbolize the long-lasting Sino-American relation. These trees were later carefully planted in Flower Harbour Park and Hangzhou Botanical Park. During his second trip to Hangzhou, President Nixon arranged a day to see the trees, which has grown to 7.75 meters from its previous 2.4 meters.


President Nixon's grandson Planted Redwood Saplings in Hangzhou


Both for being the actual birthplace of Shanghai Communiqué and Hangzhou natural beauty, President Richard Nixon had West Lake engraved on his mind and had a second trip arranged to Hangzhou after he was retired in 1993. Following his footstep, his grandson Christopher Nixon Cox also visited Hangzhou in 2013.

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