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Mao Zedong’s Foreign Policy Line Change before the Establishment of the PRC and its Significance

  • 중앙사론
  • 2016, (44), pp.343-383
  • Publisher : Institute for Historical Studies at Chung-Ang University
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

Lee Wonjune 1

1인천대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In the early days of the Cold War when the bipolar international system had begun to take form, Mao Zedong suggested his own analysis of the new world order, which was to be called the ‘intermediate zone theory’(1946). Although he did acknowledge that the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. had become the two main actors in world politics, he stressed the importance of the ‘intermediate zone’ which was to carry out the anti- imperialist and anti-American struggle throughout the world. The new world order which was based on the conflict of the two different social system(socialism and capitalism) was to be reinterpreted by Mao as the world order in which the contradiction between American imperialist policy and the resistance of the ‘intermediate zone’ had become the ‘principal contradiction’. As seen from the Oppose American Support of Japan Movement(1948), his interpretation of the new cold war system was based on the historical legacy of China’s anti-imperialist struggle since the early 20th century. This tendency seemed to have faced a big challenge when Mao declared his new foreign policy of ‘leaning to one side’ in June 1949. However, in contrast to the rhetoric of the CCP’s official announcement and the expressions used in the conversations between Moscow and Beijing, Mao and the CCP leaders had actually tried to maintain and enhance economic exchanges with the U.S. and capitalist countries. Therefore it is difficult to say that Mao had accepted the typical concept of the cold war system which was based on the conflict between ‘socialism’ and ‘capitalism’ in 1949. It is worth reminding that he used the term ‘imperialism’ rather than ‘capitalism’ when he declared the ‘lean to one’ policy. To Mao, ‘imperialism’ was not the advanced stage of ‘capitalism’, and the two had no direct relations. That is why Mao and the CCP had always maintained that any countries that abandon ‘imperialist policies’ toward China, including capitalist states, can become partners of China’s new socialist state. Mao’s ‘intermediate zone theory’ or the ‘lean to one side’ policy, both were the outcome of his attempt to find the right place of China’s long term national revolution in the new world order―cold war system. This inclination was to bring about serious change in the East Asian cold war since the mid-1950s.

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