Global Asia Journal


Occasional Paper No. 3

Document Type



This study examines the evolution of China's Third World policy from the Maoist era to the present. The term "third World" refers to all developing and underdeveloped countries in Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America. Since 1949, the People's Republic of China was mainly responding to the international pressures from the United States and the Soviet Union rather than dealing with the Third World countries per se. But after the launching of the War on Terror in 2001, the American military expansion into Iraq and Afghanistan completely changed China's diplomatic priorities. Beijing has begun to pursue an active policy of engaging many Third World countries in order to undermine the U.S.-dominated international order. This development reflects the current official rhetoric about the China's peaceful ruse, meaning that a powerful China will not threaten its Asian neighbors as the Western imperialists had done in the past.