The key clause in the Jan 1, 1979, joint communique for the establishment of US-China relations said:
- The Government of the United States of America acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China.
The US at the time claimed that the word ‘acknowledges’ did not amount to ‘recognition’ of the Chinese position, that it came close to the neutral ’takes note of.’
One US account adds that the US went out of its way to avoid use of the word ‘recognise’ and required the Chinese side to accept ‘acknowledge.’
But the Chinese translation said ‘cheng ren’ which seems to come close to ‘recognition’ anyway.
The US side later said it missed the translation nuance.