And whatever the answer to these would surely rock the world.
The relationship of the People's Republic of China (PRC) - to differentiate it from Imperial China to the China transformed by Mao Tse-Tung in 1949 - and the United States started bitterly, brought about by two diametrically opposed ideologies that each espouses: the United States, being the indefatigable monument of imperialism, and China, being the staunch ally of communist Russia. The world then was equatorially divided between imperialism in the west and communism in the east. And no one ever conceived that this demarcation would ever be radically altered.
During this period (1949-1970) both nations regarded each other as intransigent enemies. The United States refused to acknowledge the PRC and denied China of its legitimacy being a nation by totally isolating it from the diplomatic community: it excluded China from the United Nations; it banned any trading with China; it fanned anti-communism and supported separatist movement within China (as what it did with USSR after the cold war) to divide the strong China; and it rallied South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Southeast Asia and South Vietnam into a 'crescent-shaped alignment against communism', immediately communist China (Han-Yin Chang, 2000, p.62); that any ally having any diplomatic relations with China warrants the wrath of the powerful US. The U.S. depicted China to the world as repressive, fascistic, dictatorial, denying individual freedom that any one living in a democratic country, like America, enjoys.
China on the other hand, side by side with Russia, was a front liner in the united front against US imperialism, all-out supporting national movements that decry U.S. colonialism. It was instrumental in the liberation of North Korea and North Vietnam. China portrayed the U.S. to the Chinese people and to the U.S. colonies, especially in Southeast Asia, that Uncle Sam - a derogatory depiction of the U.S. mocking it as an arrogant self-declared semi-god out to exploit nation's wealth and resources in the guise of benevolence - is nothing but a despotic aggressor, that would like to impose its hegemony over the peoples of the world. It perceived, and made all in its realm perceive, too, any U.S. action as an act of calculated subjugation and total exploitation. This marked anti-American sentiment lingers on among Chinese people until today.
Such was the very hostile relationship of these two powerful nations that no peaceful gesture could lessen the tension, instead, if there was any, could have been interpreted as a mere ploy to thwart the other; that peaceful co-existence was unacceptable, because only one should rule the world. Each one representing the two contrasting ideologies, offered itself as the best social system to rule the world, both promising prosperity and humanization of society.
Who could ever think that this would change' No one ever did, not even in any of these