The World: The Ping Heard Round the World

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in the Viet Nam War. Major Philip E. Smith has been held since 1965, when his F-104 fighter-bomber came down on the island of Hainan. Navy Lieut. Robert J. Flynn has been imprisoned since 1967, when, on a bombing mission north of Hanoi, he went off course during a storm and came down in Quansi province. No single gesture could warm Americans more quickly than the release of the prisoners.

Whatever the outcome of this or other emotional issues, even the most optimistic interpreters of China's move remain convinced that Peking's ultimate purpose remains the same: to reduce and if possible eliminate American influence in Asia—but not in such a way that the U.S. would simply be replaced by the Soviet Union. China remains ideologically and politically a formidable adversary. On all sides, warnings against excessive U.S. euphoria quickly followed the initial surprise and delight over Peking's move. The Chinese themselves cautioned against an overenthusiastic reaction. Even while the U.S. team was in China, the Peking People's Daily headlined: NIXON, DON'T LET YOUR HEAD GET TOO DIZZY! Nonetheless, the U.S., and the rest of the outside world as well, could not help but be encouraged that China had finally decided to turn outward again.

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