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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Foundations of Chinese Foreign Policy

The foundational speeches, reports, treaties, and other documents which have defined and gave shape to the foreign policy of the People's Republic of China since 1949, from Mao Zedong to Deng Xiaoping and beyond.

  • April 24, 1945

    Mao Zedong, 'On Coalition Government'

    Mao Zedong defines the Chinese Communist Party's foreign policy for the post-war world, announcing that "China can never win genuine independence and equality by following the present policy of the Kuomintang government."

  • August 06, 1946

    Talk with the American Correspondent Anna Louise Strong

    Mao Zedong says that "all reactionaries are paper tigers" and discusses the Chinese Civil War. He also introduces the theory of the "intermediate zone," when he states that "the United States and the Soviet Union are separated by a vast zone which includes many capitalist, colonial and semi-colonial countries in Europe, Asia and Africa."

  • June 30, 1949

    Mao Zedong, 'On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship: In Commemoration of the Twenty-eighth Anniversary of the Communist Party of China'

    Mao Zedong announces that China will “lean to one side” in its foreign policy and that China must “ally with the Soviet Union” and “form an international united front.”

  • October 01, 1949

    Proclamation of the Central People's Government of the PRC

    Upon the founding of the People's Republic of China, Mao Zedong claims that the "government is willing to establish diplomatic relations with any foreign government that is willing to observe the principles of equality, mutual benefit, and mutual respect of territorial integrity and sovereignty."

  • April 29, 1954

    Agreement between the Republic of India and the People's Republic of China on Trade and Intercourse between the Tibet Region of China and India

    China and India put forth the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, which call for mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful co-existence.

  • April 19, 1955

    Supplementary Speech of Premier Zhou Enlai at the Plenary Session of the Asian African-Conference

    Zhou Enlai claimed that although the PRC believed communism was positive, they did not come to the conference for the purpose of propaganda and wished to seek communality instead, otherwise they could have mentioned the Taiwan issue and the treatment of the PRC at the UN. He went on to stress that ideological and religious difference should not prevent countries from agreeing on fundamental points. Zhou also discussed China's opposition to interference in other countries' affairs.

  • November 18, 1957

    Excerpt from the Unedited Translation of Mao Zedong’s Speech at the Moscow Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties

  • November 18, 1957

    Mao Zedong, 'Speech at a Meeting of the Representatives of Sixty-four Communist and Workers' Parties' (Edited by Mao)

    During a speech at the Moscow Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties of 1957 , Mao Zedong proclaims that "the east wind prevailing over the west wind." This version of the speech was edited by Mao for publication.

  • September, 1963

    Mao Zedong, 'There Are Two Intermediate Zones'

    Mao Zedong begins to espouse his theory of the “Two Intermediate Zones,” with Asia, Africa, and Latin America constituting the first, and Europe and North America constituting the second.

  • January 15, 1964

    The Chinese Government's Eight Principles for Economic Aid and Technical Assistance to Other Countries

    During a state visit to Ghana in January 1964, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai outlines the principles of China's foreign economic assistance.

  • February 27, 1972

    Joint Communique between the United States and China

    The United States and China pledge to improve relations with one another in the famous "Shanghai Communique."

  • February 22, 1974

    Mao Zedong, 'On the Question of the Differentiation of the Three Worlds'

    Mao Zedong decsribes his Theory of Three Worlds, claiming that the “First World” is made up of the rich and nuclear armed USSR and US, the “Second World” refers to Japan, Europe, Australia, and Canada, and the “Third World” covers the undeveloped countries of Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

  • June 27, 1981

    Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China

    The Chinese Communist Party assesses the legacy and shortcomings of Mao Zedong, criticizes the Cultural Revolution, and calls for Party unity going forward.