Leaders worldwide lauded Richard Nixon for his bold foreign policy moves, with some of America's Cold War enemies most warm in their praise.
China's Communist leaders hailed him as a man of "strategic foresight and political courage" in messages of condolences.Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Premier Li Peng praised Nixon for his 1972 breakthrough visit to Beijing that began the rapprochement between China and the United States and for his efforts to improve relations even after he resigned. His last visit was in April 1993.
Nixon also was warmly remembered in Russia. President Boris Yeltsin said he was "one of the first major world politicians who have understood Russia and understood what it was fighting for."
Yeltsin had refused to meet with Nixon during his 10-day trip to Russia last month because the former president had met with some of Yeltsin's political opponents.
But Nixon is credited with establishing the policy of detente toward the Soviet Union during his presidency and, in recent years, with pushing for U.S. aid for Russia.
Even India, whose relations with the United States reached an all-time low during Nixon's administration, commended the former president for taking bold steps in international affairs.
"Although President Nixon's term was marked by a certain controversy, he was well known in international affairs as having been courageous enough to take bold steps such as normalization of relations with China and steps toward East-West detente," Foreign Ministry spokesman Shiv Shankar Mukherjee said.
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was ambassador to the United States during Nixon's presidency, praised his support of Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War "in the face of the opposition of most of the world."
"I am convinced that history will recall the great role he played on the international scene," French President Francois Mitterrand said in extending condolences to his family.
The secretary-general of the United Nations, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, extending his condolences, called Nixon's impact in international affairs "especially significant."