Mao Zedong’s “Three Worlds” Theory: Political Considerations and Value for the Times

Social Sciences in China

Vol. 34, No. 1, 2013


Mao Zedongs “Three WorldsTheory: Political Considerations and Value for the Times



Jiang An


Mao Zedongs theory of “the differentiation of three worldsoriginated in his idea of “one intermediate zonein the 1940s and 1950s, took initial shape with the idea of “two intermediate zonesin the 1960s and was officially formulated in the early 1970s. Taking national interests and the pursuit of sovereignty as its logical starting point, the law of the unity of opposites as its philosophical basis, the background of the Cold War as its historical platform, and opposition to hegemony as its diplomatic strategy, Mao Zedong advanced the well-known “three worlds” theory. As a hallmark achievement of Chinas diplomatic strategy and international relations theory, Maos “three worldstheory has a very special value for the times, especially with regard to its philosophy and principles in areas such as the principles of international ethics and justice, discourse power and national image, security mechanisms and strategic partnerships, and interdependence and cultural transcendence, all of which are precious ideological resources that we should cherish.