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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 18, 2012

The Normalization of Sino-French Diplomatic Relations in 1964 and the Formation of the “One-China” Principle: Negotiations over Breaking French Diplomatic Relations with the Republic of China Government and the Recognition of the People’s Republic of China as the Sole Legitimate Government

  • Madoka Fukuda EMAIL logo
From the journal World Political Science


This article examines the substance and modification of the “One-China” principle, which the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) pursued in the mid 1960s. Under this principle, a country wishing to establish diplomatic relations with the PRC was required first to break off such relations with the Republic of China (ROC). In 1964 the PRC established diplomatic relations with France. This was its first ambassadorial exchange with a Western government. The PRC, in the negotiations over the establishment of diplomatic relations, attempted to achieve some consensus with France on the matter of “One-China”. The PRC, nevertheless, had to abandon these attempts, even though it demanded fewer conditions of France than of the United States (USA), Japan and other Western countries in the 1970s. The PRC had demanded adherence to the “One-China” principle since 1949. France, however, refused to accept this condition. Nevertheless, the PRC established diplomatic relations with France before the latter broke off relations with the ROC. Subsequently, the PRC abandoned the same condition in negotiations with the African governments of the Republic of Congo, Central Africa, Dahomey and Mauritania. After the negotiations with France, the PRC began to insist that the joint communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic relations should clearly state that “the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government of China”. However, France refused to insert these words into the communiqué. Afterwards, the PRC nevertheless insisted on putting such a statement into the joint communiqués or exchanges of notes on the establishment of diplomatic relations with the African countries mentioned above. This was done in order to set precedents for making countries accede to the “One-China” principle. The “One-China” principle was, thus, gradually formed in the process of the negotiation and bargaining between the PRC and other governments.

Corresponding author: Madoka Fukuda, School of Asia 21, Kokushikan University, 1-1-1, Hirohakama, Machida-shi, Tokyo 195-8550, Japan

Published Online: 2012-10-18

©2012 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston

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