The Albanian Intervention
In light of the previously expressed judgement that “the Socialist camp had ceased to exist” (at the 10th CPC Congress in 1973), China’s inauguration of ‘Three World Theory’ was less a reconceptualisation of foreign policy on less ideologically based categories (i.e. class nature), and more a reapplication of tried and tested alliance-building strategies regardless of ideological affinity.
The genealogy of ‘The Three Worlds Theory’ suggests continuity in Communist China’s multi-polar conceptualisation of the world. There was a revival of the category of ‘intermediate zone’: the emphasis on Europe was not simply as an arena of confrontation, between the two superpowers with European states as accomplices of US imperialism, but subject to superpower domination. With the Soviet Union identified as an imperialist state, then the state-to-state relations with its “satellites” could be “cultivating outposts of resistance in the Soviet background” mirroring relations with Western European states in their alliance with the USA (Xiaoyuan 2004).
Mao’s comments to President Kaunda of Zambia saw a world system comprising of two superpowers (First World) developed industrialized nations forming a Second World, who exploited the developing countries but were also in turn exploited and bullied by the two superpowers. The Third World, consisting of the developing nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America, was exploited and oppressed by both.