In March 1972, Richard Nixon made headlines (and history) with a visit to the Communist People's Republic of China. Nixon later recalled his surprise both at the timing and the nature of China's friendly overture. "I had never expected that the China initiative would come to fruition," he explained, "in the form of a Ping-Pong team."
[Among Chinese premier Mao Zedong's first words to Nixon? "I voted for you during your last election."]