From Third World Theory to Belt and Road Initiative: International Aid as a Chinese Foreign Policy Tool

Da Teoria do Terceiro Mundo à Iniciativa Cinturão e Rota: A Ajuda Internacional como Instrumento de Política Externa Chinesa

Victor Carneiro Corrêa Vieira About the author


In 1946, Mao Zedong began to elaborate his theory of the Third World from the perception that there would be an ‘intermediate zone’ of countries between the two superpowers. From there, he concluded that Africa, Latin America, and Asia, except for Japan, would compose the revolutionary forces capable of defeating imperialism, colonialism, and hegemonism. The start of international aid from the People’s Republic of China to developing countries dates back to the period immediately after the Bandung Conference of 1955, extending to the present. Through a bibliographical and documentary analysis, the article starts with the following research question: What role did domestic and international factors play in China’s foreign aid drivers over the years? To answer the question, the evolution of Chinese international assistance was studied from Mao to the Belt and Road Initiative, which is the complete expression of the country’s ‘quaternity’ model of co-operation, combining aid, trade, investment, and technical assistance.

China; international co-operation; international aid; Belt and Road Initiative; Asia; Africa

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