“Only Nixon could go to China” is a metaphor for a person of an established reputation to defy all expectations by acting in a contrary fashion. That phrase was born on this date in 1972. President Richard Nixon, an established cold warrior, surprised everyone by his visit with the Chinese leadership. This led to expanded contacts between the U.S. and that nation. Full diplomatic relations, broken off in 1949, were restored on January 1, 1979. Today, China is a major U.S. trading partner. In 2011, China bought nearly $104 billion of U.S. goods, while we imported over $399 billion worth from that once-isolated nation. Profile America is in its 16th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.