Former President Nixon concluded a fact-finding trip to China Thursday that ended with Americans and Chinese blaming each other for escalating tensions 17 years after Nixon pioneered diplomatic relations between the two giants.

After six days of hard-hitting talks, Nixon departed for his home in New Jersey where he planned to finalize a report for the White House on the 20 hours of consultations with Beijing's leaders.In contrast to the euphoria pervading his 1972 visit when he paved the way for diplomatic ties, aides cautiously avoided claims of success.

The visit "has the potential of being successful," said a key American member of Nixon's party. "The relationship is such a tension-ridden one we're not in the position where one trip can turn things around."

Relations between China and the United States have been at a low since Washington joined its Western allies in freezing arms sales and official high-level visits to Beijing following the June 4 military crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, leaving hundreds and perhaps thousands dead.