ORBIT OF CHINA by Harrison E. Salisbury


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In the hope that ""from the long periphery it would be possible to see some things more clearly,"" ""Harrison Salisbury orbited China with his wife Charlotte in the summer of 1966. He traveled the road to Lo Wu, the ""peaceful and pedestrian"" village that is the contact point for the largest nation in the world, visited Cambodia, which considers China its ""No. 1 friend"" and wonders ""Will bombs (North Vietnam-directed) fall on us?"" In Thailand he questioned whether the Chinese tail was wagging the Thai dog; he found the Laotians, busy with their opium trades ""could not have been more indifferent"" to the East-West confrontation. In Rangoon, he weighed General Ne Win's egalitarian rigidity and found it wanting; in Delhi he discovered that India's ties with her Asian neighbors were ""no longer close and binding""--she had gone over to the West after China's encroachment and had, despite appearances of form, abandoned her stance of neutrality (China's doing, possibly deliberate). In Japan he was told, ""The United States is today and now, but China is forever."" Salisbury came home with a reinforced impression that China and the U.S. were ""far advanced along a course which could lead only to nuclear war,"" that China can be provoked, that the Sino-Soviet entente is not unmendable, that China is suffering a psychosis comparable to Russia's in Stalin's last years, that we must act fast, bring Red China into the U.N. Again, ""toetesting"" reportage, but at a critical remove from its primary concern (China), by a top New York Timesman.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1967
Publisher: Harper & Row