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- All diplomacy is a continuation of war by other means.
- As quoted in Saturday Evening Post (27 March 1954); this is a play upon the famous maxim of Clausewitz: "War is the continuation of politics by other means."
- For us, it is alright if the talks succeed, and it is alright if they fail.
- On President Richard Nixon’s visit to China (5 October 1971), as quoted in Simpson's Contemporary Quotations (1988) edited by James Beasley Simpson
- China is an attractive piece of meat coveted by all … but very tough, and for years no one has been able to bite into it.
- To the Chinese Communist Party Congress, as quoted in The New York Times (1 September 1973)
- We shall use only peaceful means and we shall not permit any other kind of method.
- Concluding his summary of his government’s approach to boundary settlement at Bandung, with a pledge and a warning "How the Sino-Russian BoundaryConflict Was Finally Settled:From Nerchinsk 1689 to Vladivostok 2005 via Zhenbao Island 1969" by Neville Maxwell
- It is too soon to say.
- Often, though disputedly, thought to refer to the significance of the French Revolution of 1789, it has been argued that he was actually indicating the French protests of 1968, in "Zhou’s cryptic caution lost in translation" by Richard McGregor in Financial Times (10 June 2011)
- China and North Vietnam are closely united, like the lips and the teeth.
- In Hanoi (March 5, 1971)
- Nikita Khrushchev: The difference between the Soviet Union and China is that I rose to power from the peasant class, whereas you came from the privileged Mandarin class.
Zhou: True. But there is this similarity. Each of us is a traitor to his class.
Quotes about Zhou
- It is a little bit humiliating when I have to say that Chou En-lai to me appears as the most superior brain I have so far met in the field of foreign politics... so much more dangerous than you imagine because he is so much better a man than you have ever admitted.
- Dag Hammarskjöld, in a letter to a friend, as quoted in Hammarskjöld (1972) by Brian Urquhart
- Mao dominated any gathering; Zhou suffused it. Mao's passion strove to overwhelm opposition; Zhou's intellect would seek to persuade or outmaneuver it. Mao was sardonic; Zhou penetrating. Mao thought of himself as a philosopher; Zhou saw his role as an administrator or a negotiator. Mao was eager to accelerate history; Zhou was content to exploit its currents.
- Henry Kissinger, in On China (2011)