Sino-Third World relations
Sino-Third World relations refers to the general relationship between the two Chinese states across the Taiwan Strait (the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China) and the rest of the Third World, and its history from the Chinese perspective.
Next in importance to its relations with the superpowers—the Soviet Union and United States—during the Cold War were China's relations with the rest of the Third World. Chinese leaders have tended to view the developing nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America as a major force in international affairs, and they have considered China an integral part of this major Third World force. As has been the case with China's foreign relations in general, policy toward the countries of the developing world has fluctuated over time. It has been affected by China's alternating involvement in and isolation from world affairs and by the militancy or peacefulness of Beijing's views. In addition, China's relations with the Third World have been affected by China's ambiguous position as a developing country that nevertheless has certain attributes more befiting a major power. China has been variously viewed by the Third World as a friend and ally, a competitor for markets and loans, a source of economic assistance, a regional power intent on dominating Asia, and a "candidate superpower" with such privileges as a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
China's relations with the Third World have developed through several phases: the Bandung Line of the mid-1950s (named for a 1955 conference of Asian and African nations held in Bandung, Indonesia), support for liberation and world revolution in the 1960s, the pronouncement of the Theory of the Three Worlds and support for a "new international economic order" in the 1970s, and a renewed emphasis on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in the 1980s. In addition, the foundation for China's 21st century engagement with Africa as the largest bloc of the Third World is the October 2000 Beijing ministerial conference for China-Africa dialogue (FOCAC) that set the basis for China's aspirations for a new world order, with elevated voice of the Third World.
Early years of the People's Republic
In the first years after the founding of the People's Republic, Chinese statements echoed the Soviet view that the world was divided into two camps, the forces of socialism and those of imperialism, with "no third road" possible. By 1953 China began reasserting its belief that the newly independent developing countries could play an important intermediary role in world affairs. In 1954 Zhou Enlai and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India agreed on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence as the underlying basis for conducting foreign relations. China's success in promoting these principles at the 1955 Bandung Conference helped China emerge from diplomatic isolation. By the end of the 1950s, however, China's foreign policy stance had become more militant. Statements promoting the Chinese revolution as a model and Beijing's actions in the Taiwan Strait (1958) (see Second Taiwan Strait Crisis) and in border conflicts with India (1962) (see Sino-Indian War) and Vietnam (1979) (see Sino-Vietnamese War), for example, alarmed many Third World nations.
During the 1960s China cultivated ties with Third World countries and insurgent groups in an attempt to encourage "wars of national liberation" and revolution and to forge an international united front against both superpowers. China offered economic and technical assistance to other countries and liberation movements, which, although small in comparison with Soviet and United States aid, was significant considering China's own needs. Third World appreciation for Chinese assistance coexisted, however, with growing suspicions of China's militancy. Such suspicions were fed, for example, by Zhou Enlai's statement in the early 1960s that the potential for revolution in Africa was "excellent" and by the publication of Lin Biao's essay "Long Live the Victory of People's War!" in 1965. Discord between China and many Third World countries continued to grow. In some cases, as with Indonesia's charge of Chinese complicity in the 1965 coup attempt in Jakarta and claims by several African nations of Chinese subversion during the Cultural Revolution, bilateral disputes led to the breaking off of diplomatic relations. Although the Third World was not a primary focus of the Cultural Revolution, it was not immune to the chaos this period wrought upon Chinese foreign relations.
In the 1970s China began to redefine its foreign policy after the isolation and militancy of the late 1960s. China reestablished those of its diplomatic missions that had been recalled during the Cultural Revolution and began the process of rapprochement with the United States. The People's Republic was admitted into the United Nations in 1971 and was recognized diplomatically by an increasing number of nations. China's major foreign policy statement during this time was Mao's Theory of the Three Worlds, which was presented publicly by Deng Xiaoping at the UN in 1974. According to this theory, the First World consisted of the two superpowers—the Soviet Union and the United States—both "imperialist aggressors" whose rivalry was the greatest cause of impending world war. The Third World was the main force in international affairs. Its growing opposition to superpower hegemony was exemplified by such world events as the Arab nations' control of oil prices, Egypt's expulsion of Soviet aid personnel in 1972, and the United States withdrawal from Vietnam. The Second World, comprising the developed countries of Europe plus Japan, could either oppress the Third World or join in opposing the superpowers. By the second half of the 1970s, China perceived an increased threat from the Soviet Union, and the theory was modified to emphasize that the Soviet Union was the more dangerous of the two superpowers.
The other primary component of China's Third World policy in the early 1970s was a call for radical change in the world power structure and particularly a call for a "new international economic order." Until the late 1970s, the Chinese principles of sovereignty, opposition to hegemony, and self-reliance coincided with the goals of the movement for a new international economic order. Chinese statements in support of the new order diminished as China began to implement the opening up policy, allow foreign investment, and seek technical assistance and foreign loans. China's critical opinion of international financial institutions appeared to change abruptly as Beijing prepared to join the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in 1980. Chinese support for changes in the economic order stressed the role of collective self-reliance among the countries of the Third World, or "South-South Cooperation," in the 1980s.
Also in the 1980s, China reasserted its Third World credentials and placed a renewed emphasis on its relations with Third World countries as part of its independent foreign policy. China stressed that it would develop friendly relations with other nations regardless of their social systems or ideologies and would conduct its relations on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Beijing exchanged delegations with Third World countries regularly, and it made diplomatic use of cultural ties, for example, by promoting friendly links between Chinese Muslims and Islamic countries. Officially, China denied that it sought a leadership role in the Third World, although some foreign observers argued to the contrary. Beijing increasingly based its foreign economic relations with the Third World on equality and mutual benefit, expressed by a shift toward trade and joint ventures and away from grants and interest-free loans.
By the second half of the 1980s, China's relations with Third World nations covered the spectrum from friendly to inimical. Bilateral relations ranged from a formal alliance with North Korea, to a near-alliance with Pakistan, to hostile relations with Vietnam marked by sporadic border conflict. Many relationships have changed dramatically over time: for example, China previously had close relations with Vietnam; its ties with India were friendly during the 1950s but were strained thereafter by border tensions. Particularly in Southeast Asia, a legacy of suspicion concerning China's ultimate intentions affected Chinese relations with many countries.
As of 2018 only a few countries in the world lacked diplomatic ties with Beijing; among them were Honduras, and Paraguay. Some of these, including six in the Pacific, one in Africa had formal ties with Taipei instead (see Political status of Taiwan). China's growing interest in trade and technical exchanges, however, meant that in some cases substantial unofficial relations existed despite the absence of diplomatic recognition.
List of third world conflicts involving the People's Republic of China & the Republic of China
One primary motivation for involvement in third world conflicts for PRC and ROC was to gain influence and legitimacy, claiming to be the only 'China' while undermining other side. This was part wider pattern in the Cold War where the world was divided into spheres of influence. Later the Sino-Soviet Split occurred, with the PRC completing against the Soviet Union for influence.
|Time||Country/Region||Conflict/Event||Role of the People's Republic of China||Role of the Republic of China (Taiwan)|
|23 May – 23 October 2017||Marawi, Lanao del Sur, Philippines||Battle of Marawi||China donated 50 million renminbi worth of arms aid which comprises around 3,000 rifles and 6 million pieces of ammunition. Three types of rifles were given; sniper rifles, automatic rifles, and marksman rifles.|
|15 March 2011 – present||Syria||Syrian Civil War||China has supported Syria diplomatically at the UN, using its veto 6 times, along with Russia to prevent Western efforts to punish and sanction the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.|
|26 February 2003 – present||Darfur, Sudan||War in Darfur||PRC has supplied weapons and aircraft to Sudan government.|
|23 July 1983 – 18 May 2009||Sri Lanka||Sri Lankan Civil War||During the last years of the civil war, from 2007, China supplied the Sri Lankan Armed forces financial aid of nearly $1bn, tens of millions of dollars' worth of sophisticated weapons, and making a free gift of six F7 fighter jets. China also prevented the UN Security Council from putting Sri Lanka on its agenda. With these factors, the Sri Lankan Armed forces managed to defleat the Tamil Tigers.|
|22 September 1980 – 20 August 1988||Iran, Iraq||Iran–Iraq War||During the Iran–Iraq War, China, which had no direct stake in the victory of either side and whose interests in the war were entirely commercial, freely sold arms to both sides. Along with many other countries selling arms to either Iran or Iraq, this contributed to prolonging the war.|
|24 December 1979 – 15 February 1989||Afghanistan||Soviet–Afghan War||The People's Liberation Army trained and supported the Afghan mujahideen during the war, with training camps set up in Xinjiang, China. Anti-aircraft missiles, rocket launchers and machine guns, valued at hundreds of millions, were given to the mujahideen by the PRC. Chinese military advisers and troops were present with the Islamists during training. All this was done to undermine the Soviet Union and to prevent the USSR from attempting to encircle China. China's support, along with many other countries helped the Taliban and Al-Qaeda rise in Afghanistan.|
|15 October 1979 – 16 January 1992||El Salvador||Salvadoran Civil War||The ROC sold weapons to the military-led regime of El Salvador to fight against several left-wing rebel groups.|
|1978–1982||North Yemen||NDF Rebellion, Yemenite War of 1979||80 ROC F-5E pilots plus ground crew were sent to North Yemen to boost its air defense, joining 400 US advisers. At least one squadron strength was kept throughout the period, flying North Yemen's F-5E fleet.|
|13 July 1977 – 15 March 1978||Ogaden, Ethiopia||Ogaden War||Due to the Sino-Soviet Split, China choose to support Somalia with military aid, whereas the almost of all the rest the communist countries supported Ethiopia.|
|30 April 1977 – 23 October 1991||Cambodia||Cambodian–Vietnamese War, Vietnamese border raids in Thailand||In the context of the Sino-soviet split, PRC saw Vietnam and Laos proxies of the USSR, while Cambodia under Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge became a client state of People's Republic of China. The war began with isolated clashes along the land and maritime boundaries of Vietnam and Kampuchea between 1975 and 1977. Kampuchean leaders feared what they perceived as Vietnamese expansionism/domination into Cambodia, pre-empt a military attack on Vietnam, despite mediation attempts from China, Vietnamese leaders decided to remove the Khmer Rouge dominated regime of Democratic Kampuchea, perceiving it as being pro-Chinese and too hostile towards Vietnam, as they were unwilling to compromise. By this time both countries were busy strengthening its armed forces, with Khmer Rouge receiving Chinese support. In previous years, China had only provided the Kampuchean Revolutionary Army with a limited amount of arms and ammunition, but as relations with Vietnam worsened in 1978, Beijing established additional supply routes through Kampuchea and increased the volume of military hardware which traveled down each route. On the eve of the Vietnamese invasion, Kampuchea had an estimated 73,000 soldiers in the Eastern Military Zone bordering Vietnam. At that time, all branches of the Kampuchean armed forces were significantly strengthened by large quantities of Chinese-made military equipment, which included fighter aircraft, patrol boats, heavy artillery, anti-aircraft guns, trucks and tanks. Additionally, there were between 10,000 and 20,000 Chinese advisers in both military and civilian capacities, providing their support to the Khmer Rouge regime. Despite Chinese military support, the Khmer Rouge were overthrown by Vietnamese forces, however the genocidal Khmer Rouge continued to be recognized internationally until 1991 at the UN as the legitimate government of Cambodia, thanks to Chinese support.|
|March 8 – 26 May 1977||Shaba Province, Zaire||Shaba I||In defiance of Soviet and Cuban goals, due to the Sino-Soviet Split, the People's Republic of China sent weapons to support Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, instead of Front for the National Liberation of the Congo (FNLC) rebel organization.|
|3 December 1975 – 1990||Laos||Insurgency in Laos||In response to Laos' staunch alignment with and unequivocal support for Vietnam, during its conflict over Cambodia, China supported Royalist-in-exile insurgency and Right-wing insurgency against the Pathet Lao. China later ceased support in 1988.|
|11 November 1975 – 4 April 2002||Angola||Angolan Civil War||In order to counter to Soviet influence and gain some of its own influence, China provided aid to UNITA, a Maoist organisation until 1977 (afterwards its ideology changed to more capitalistic view due the influence of USA), against the Marxism–Leninism MPLA.|
|26 March 1971 – 16 December 1971||East Pakistan||Bangladesh Liberation War, Indo-Pakistani War of 1971||China supported Pakistan diplomatically through the war, such calling for an immediate ceasefire and vetoing Bangladesh's entry to the UN, until two UN resolutions regarding the repatriation of Pakistani prisoners of war and civilians had been fulfilled.|
|29 March 1969 – present||Philippines||Communist insurgency in Philippines||The PRC provided support to the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing to New People's Army from 1969-1976 to help overthrow the Philippines government. However relations between the PRC and CCP have been served since the 1980s.|
|17 June 1968 – 2 December 1989||Peninsular Malaysia||Communist insurgency in Malaysia (1968–89)||PRC provided assistance to Malayan Communist Party to fight against the Malaysian Government, however military assistance ceased in 1974, and last financial assistance package occurring in the early 1980s.|
|1968–1982||Jordan, Lebanon, Israel||Black September, Palestinian insurgency in South Lebanon||PRC provided aid to PLO, especially to its left-wing communist fractions of Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in its fight for the liberation of Palestine. However aid was significantly reduced when Deng Xiaoping came to power.|
|29 July – 1 August 1967||Laos||1967 Opium War||Abandoned KMT army units stuck in Thailand, Myanmar and Indochina engaged in the drug trade to survive. A battle between a Burmese drug cartel, Khun Sa's forces, KMT forces and the Royal Lao Army occurred, resulting increase publicity of the drug trafficking in the region|
|26–29 June 1967||Myanmar||1967 anti-Chinese riots in Myanmar||The PRC radicalized the Chinese people in Myanmar, though its Cultural Revolution promotion, at the same time Burma was implementing its Burmese Way to Socialism, which imposed restrictions on the Burmese Chinese. However Burmese rioters attack Chinese-owned businesses and the PRC embassy killing many Chinese. Chinese vice foreign minister demanded the Burmese government punish the rioters, recompense the families of the victims, make a public apology, and ensure the safety of embassy staff and Chinese citizens in Burma. The Burma government responded with rejecting China's demands. The movements of Chinese embassy staff and Chinese expatriates in Rangoon were restricted as well as the activities of Chinese entities. The Burmese ambassador to China was recalled and China's economic assistance program and its trade agreements with Burma were cancelled.|
|18 May 1967–present||India, Red corridor||Naxalite–Maoist insurgency||According to Indian sources, the People's Republic of China has been supporting the Naxalites in their insurgency against the Indian government for over 5 decades, with Pakistan, Nepal, Burma acting as middle-men when receiving support. China denies this. However, according to the CIA sources, China did support the Maoists/communists in the beginning, but support dwindled due to the Sino-Soviet Split and death of Mao Zedong.|
|May–December 1967||British Hong Kong||Hong Kong 1967 leftist riots||The PRC sponsored and supported leftists organisations in Hong Kong such as the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions to cause unrest in Hong Kong, in the form of strikes, protests, riots, terrorist attacks (bomb attacks and assassinations). Their aim was to overthrow the colonial government and reunify Hong Kong back to China.|
|11 March 1967 – 17 April 1975||Cambodia||Cambodian Civil War||The PRC sponsored and supported leftists/communist organisations in Cambodian Civil War.|
|November 1966 – January 1967||Portuguese Macau||12-3 incident||The PRC sponsored and encouraged leftists in Macau to riot in an attempt to overthrow the colonial government. The rioters began destroying statues, ripping out portraits of former governors from government buildings, as well as taking books and city records into the street to burn them. The aftermath of the riots lead to a greater influence of PRC-camp in Macau ||The aftermath of the riots lead to decrease of ROC influence in Macau, with many of their activities being banned.|
|26 August 1966 – 21 March 1990||Namibia, Angola, Zambia||South African Border War||PRC provided material assistance to the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), the armed wing of the South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO) to fight against Apartheid South Africa in order to achieve Namibia independence.|
|1965–1983||Thailand||Communist insurgency in Thailand||PRC provided support to the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) from 1971–1978 to fight against the Thai government.||Li Mi's ROC 49th Division co-operated with military of Thailand to combat local Communist insurgents through counter-insurgency operations, until 1967. Li Mi's former troops then came under the command of the Thai army, with the unit reamed the "Chinese Irregular Forces" (CIF).|
|25 September 1964 – 8 September 1974||Mozambique||Mozambican War of Independence||PRC provided military weapons to the FRELIMO guerrilla forces to achieve Mozambique's Independence from the Portuguese Empire.|
|20 September 1964 – October 1992||Vietnam, Cambodia||FULRO insurgency against Vietnam||Taking advantage of Vietnam's mistreatment of its ethnic minorities, the PRC provided support to the United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races (FULRO), in an attempt to dispurt Vietnam's development and to put pressure on Vietnam to change its policies in relation to its involvement in Cambodia and refusing to side with China in the Sino-Soviet Split.|
|4 July 1964 – 12 December 1979||Rhodesia||Rhodesian Bush War||During the its War of Independence, China provided support and aid to the Maoist/Pro-PRC ZANU organisation and its military wing ZANLA.|
|January – November 1964||Democratic Republic of the Congo||Simba rebellion||The PRC supported the Simba rebels.|
|April 1963 – 11 March 1976||Oman||Dhofar Rebellion||PRC provided support to the PFLOAG from 1968–1974, hoping to overthrow the Omani government.|
|23 January 1963 – 10 September 1974||Guinea-Bissau, Guinea||Guinea-Bissau War of Independence||China provided material assistance to African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) to fight against the Colonial Portuguese Armed Forces.|
|20 January 1963 – 11 August 1966||Malay Peninsula, Borneo||Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation||PRC supported Indonesia's hegemonic claims on Malaysia and provided aid to Indonesia's armed forces along with other allied leftist organisations involved in the confrontation.|
|December 1962 – November 1990||Sarawak, Malaysia||Communist insurgency in Sarawak||The PRC provided support to the North Kalimantan Communist Party to fight against Malaysian government.|
|1 September 1961 – 4 June 1991||Eritrea & Ethiopia||Eritrean War of Independence, Ethiopian Civil War||The PRC provided support to the Eritrean People's Liberation Front to undermine the Soviet-backed Ethiopia and achieve its independence.|
|4 February 1961 – 25 April 1974||Angola||Angolan War of Independence||During its war of Independence, China provided military assistance to MPLA, FNLA and UNITA in varying degrees to help achieve Angola's Independence from Portugal.|
|13 November 1960 – 29 December 1996||Guatemala||Guatemalan Civil War||On 10 January 1997, PRC vetoed a UN resolution supporting the Guatemalan Peace Process 1994-1996, in protest of government of Guatemala recognizing ROC over PRC. This caused a minor delay in the peace process.||ROC provided logistic support to the right-wing military regime of Guatemala during the civil war to fight against various leftist rebel groups.|
|1957—1961||East Indonesia||Permesta||ROC sent troops as mercenaries as part of CIA support to the Permesta rebels, as part of USA's goal to undermine Indonesia who at that time was drifting towards the Soviet Union's sphere of influence.|
|10 October 1956||British Hong Kong||Hong Kong 1956 riots||PRC organisations in Hong Kong participated in the riots||ROC organisations in Hong Kong participated in the riots|
|1 November 1955 – 30 April 1975||Vietnam||Vietnam War||PRC support for the Vietnamese communists included both financial aid and the deployment of hundreds of thousands of military personnel in support roles. PRC sent 320,000 troops and annual arms shipments worth $180 million.|
|9 November 1953 – 2 December 1975||Laos||Laotian Civil War||PRC provided support for the Laotian communists, Pathet Lao.||ROC provided logistic support for US armed forces.|
|17 December 1950 – 27 April 1994||South Africa||Internal resistance to apartheid||PRC opposed Apartheid policies of South Africa and supported the Maoist Pan Africanist Congress of Azania and its armed wing, Azanian People's Liberation Army in its anti-apartheid struggle.|
|25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953||Korea||Korean War||In October 1950, the PVA or People's Volunteer Army intervened in the Korean War on the side of the North Korean forces as United Nations-backed South Korean forces under General Douglas MacArthur approached the Yalu River. Under the weight of this offensive, Chinese forces captured Seoul, but were subsequently pushed back to a line roughly straddling the 38th Parallel. The war ended with an Armistice Agreement in 1953.||ROC secret agents were present during interrogation of PVA prisoners of wars (POWs). At the end of the war, a total of 14,235 out of 21,800 Chinese POWs decided to go to Taiwan thus defecting from the PRC.|
|16 June 1948 – 12 July 1960||Southeast Asia||Malayan Emergency||PRC supported the Malayan Communist Party at the conflict to fight against the Malayan Government. Malayan Government and its successors have considered the Malayan Communist Party as an illegal, terrorist organization.|
|2 April 1948 – present||Myanmar||Internal conflict in Myanmar||Since 1988, China supported the insurgency groups such as the United Wa State Party and the United Wa State Army along the Myanmar-China border.|
|2 April 1948 – 21 September 1988||Myanmar||Communist insurgency in Myanmar||During the insurgency, PRC maintained contacts with the Communist Party (Burma), but never provided material nor military support, only financial, psychological, strategic advice and military training.|
|September 13, 1945 – August 1, 1954||Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia||War in Vietnam (1945–46), First Indochina War||From 1949, the People's Republic of China supported the Vietnamese communists against the French Colonial forces from 1949-1954. In the early 1950s, southern China was used as a sanctuary by Việt Minh guerrillas. China supplied the Viet Minh guerrillas with food, money, medics, arms, ammunition, artillery and other military equipment, along with 2,000 Chinese and Soviet Union military advisors trained the Viet Minh guerrilla force to turn it into a well-professional army.||The Republic of China provided sanctuary and voiced support to Việt Nam Quốc Dân Đảng forces.|
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