The primary aim of this book is to describe China's outward-looking foreign policy, which began at the end of Beijing's (Peking's) self-imposed isolation during the great proletariat Cultural Revolution of 1966-1969. Even in the late 1960s, while still under the leadership of Mao Zedong, who had initiated the Cultural Revolution and was thus also responsible for the country's diplomatic isolation during the upheaval caused by it, China had to pay attention to serious problems of national security and defense. The gravest threat to China's security and territorial integrity came from the country's former ideological ally, the Soviet Union, which massed nearly 1 million Russian army troops, equipped with the most sophisticated weapons, on China's northern frontiers. Mao and Premier Zhou Enlai, who was one of China's ablest statesmen, particularly in foreign affairs, had to give top priority to China's external relations as a result of the near-war situation between the two communist giants.