Evidence for nearly synchronous climate oscillations during the last deglaciation has been found throughout the Northern Hemisphere but few records are based on independent time scales of calendar years. We present a rare uranium-series dated oxygen-carbon isotope record for a speleothem from Tangshan Cave, China, which demonstrates that abrupt deglacial climatic oscillations from 16 800 to 10 500 yr BP are semi-synchronous with those found in Greenland ice core records. Relatively rapid shifts in speleothem oxygen isotope ratios demonstrate that the intensity of the East Asian monsoon switched in parallel with the abrupt transitions separating the Bølling-Allerød, Younger Dryas, and pre-Boreal climatic reversals. However, the dated isotopic transitions appear to have lasted longer. Our results demonstrate the dominant role of atmospheric teleconnections in the rapid propagation of deglacial climatic signals on a hemispheric scale, and highlight the importance of U-series dated speleothems in the timing and characterization of abrupt climate change. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.