145Shambaugh believes that the Cultural Revolution and Sino-US Rapprochement marked the beginning of “the stage – the transition from being a developing country to a newly industrialized one – that much of China has now entered.” 1 The CCP may have learned from its negative lessons, adapted to a new international environment, re-built or reformed itself, and sustained its political legitimacy in the future. President Richard Nixon’s visit to China in February 1972 further reshaped the Cold War world. First and foremost, it ended the total confrontation between the United States and China that had lasted for almost a quarter of a century, opening a new chapter in relations between the world’s most powerful country and its most populous nation. 2 Within the context of this Sino-American rapprochement, Beijing’s relations with Japan also improved. In September, only a few months after Nixon’s visit, China and Japan established a formal diplomatic relation. In 1978, the two countries went further and signed a treaty of friendship and mutual cooperation. Consequently, a new crucial feature in the Cold War in East Asia as well as in the world emerged – international politics became dominated by a specific “triangular structure.” 3 Taking the “Soviet threat” as an overriding concern, Beijing and Washington established a “quasi strategic partnership.” 4