Although official military-to-military relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China (PRC) did not begin until Secretary of Defense Harold Brown's trip to Beijing in 1980, security cooperation between the United States and China was initiated from the outset of rapprochement in 1971, when Henry Kissinger shared intelligence on the Soviet military with his Chinese interlocutors. Since then, the relationship has developed in fits and starts as each side tried to determine a rationale for cooperating with the other. Throughout the more than 30 years of official and unofficial relations, differing strategic intent has played a role in hindering the relationship, but contention over Taiwan has been the most significant obstacle in furthering security cooperation, causing a deep level of distrust between the two sides and leading each to regard the other as a potential enemy.
After the initial euphoria of President Richard Nixon's visit to China in 1972, U.S.-China relations, including military relations, developed slowly during the Nixon administration, mainly due to the Watergate scandal. Military cooperation at this early stage mainly consisted of “American statements of support for Chinese security against a Soviet