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Piercing the Bamboo CurtainTentative Bridge-building to China During the Johnson Years$
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Michael Lumbers

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780719077784

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719077784.001.0001

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In Vietnam’s shadow

In Vietnam’s shadow

The reaffirmation of US China policy, 1964–65

(p.85) 3 In Vietnam’s shadow
Piercing the Bamboo Curtain

Michael Lumbers

Manchester University Press

This chapter explores the spectrum of opinion on China among Lyndon Baines Johnson officials and the resultant reaffirmation of policy through the summer of 1965, also investigating how Washington estimated the prospect of a forceful Chinese rejoinder to American intervention in Vietnam. China policy reform had not been elevated to a pressing item on the American political agenda. The Johnson team's interpretation of the People's Republic of China (PRC)'s role in Southeast Asia contributed decisively to the reaffirmation of China policy through the summer of 1965. China's interest in a victory in Vietnam was tempered by its fear of a Great Power collision. As Johnson gradually led his nation into war, he deliberately tailored the effort in such a way as to preclude another Sino-American battle whose destructive potential had grown inestimably since the PRC's testing of a nuclear device.

Keywords:   PRC, Lyndon Baines Johnson, China policy reform, Washington, Vietnam, American political agenda, Great Power

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