“Mao Zedong’s foreign policies aimed to ensure security and unity of China” – To what extent do you agree with this statement?
Mao’s attitude towards foreign policies were strict, his conflicts with other countries such as USSR, USA, even Taiwan which was not a country showed his value of security and unity on China. There are relevant events, which indicates he aimed to ensure security and unity through foreign affairs. In this essay, I will look at relevant foreign affairs and analyze Mao’s aim behind them.
The Sino Soviet treaty was an important link between China and USSR’s relationship. Mao’s aim to sign this treaty was so that they can receive expertise help at a low cost from USSR. Mao intended to use the help from USSR to militarize China. It turns out that the treaty was worded differently from its true message. It was too late when Mao realized the treaty was in favour of USSR and it gave them the opportunity to exploit China. China had to pay Soviet Union for the 10000 advisers who went to China. They also had to repay the $300 million loan plus a high rate of interest. This event shows that Mao’s relationship with USSR was partly intended to establish unity and security. He wanted to use these expert skills from USSR so he can militarize the country. He wanted to militarize the country so that he can protect China from other countries such as USA, which was more militarily advanced than China. There is no evidence, which shows he wanted to use this treaty to establish unity.
However, this treaty might also be seen as Mao reaching for power. There are two sides to see this event, he signed this treaty to militarize China to establish security, or he wanted to militarize China to help him gain power. In later events such as the Korean war, China lost a million man while USA lost 55000 man. His response to the devastating lost was that the Chinese communist are so great in number that even we lost a million man, there will be a million more. This attitude was intended to show USA power and strength. The same logic could be applied to this even. His search for power in the newly liberated world, wanting to prove himself to other countries that China has equal power as anyone does. This event was partly to establish security of China, and partly Mao’s search for power. Therefore, the Sino treaty was partly aimed to ensure the security, but not unity of China.
The third line incident, however, appears to be in complete search for security for China. After the Korean war, Mao predicted that USA would attack China soon. He feared the western side would try to take over China. He made Deng Xiaoping in charge of planning a defensive system within China by placing fortifications that can withstand the heaviest bombardment. Deng placed the third line in central China. This was a strategic act because it was to protect the existing industries and labour force. During this period, Mao had all the main industries moved to northern China, so China can sustain their development of industries. This was entirely devoted to keeping the security of China because Mao feared that the west would attack. Therefore, Mao’s third line was aimed to establish security in China solely.
The parting of the bamboo curtain was mainly to ensure the security of China. This incident began when UN admitted Mainland China as the true China in 1971. The metaphor bamboo curtain symbolizes the borderline between communist and non-communist countries in East Asia. The parting of the bamboo curtain meant the tension between was easing between countries. This incident was to ensure the security of China because Mao’s true intention to align with USA to go against USSR. USSR wanted to leave China isolated from either side of power. This act interrupted USSR strategy. This was to ensure the security of China because on a military perspective, USSR is stronger than China. Now that China is aligned with the west, if USSR does anything USA will be there to help them. This gives China a back support.
The attempt to attack Taiwan was not to ensure unity of China. Although this is an important part of China’s history, Mao only made it seem like it was for the unity of China when it was for face and show of power. This is relevant to the issue of foreign policy because it shows security and unity was not Mao’s priority. Issue of Taiwan is complicated. On one hand, you can look at it as Mao wanted to test the boundaries of USA. Since the United Nations(UN), which is under the control of USA but has a high international status, admits that Taiwan is the true China. This was an act to show power because he wanted to prove that even if they attack Taiwan USA wouldn’t do anything, proving that USA are “paper tigers”. He also wanted to take back Taiwan because of unity and “face”. If the United Nations doesn’t admit Mainland China, it loses face for Mao because its ironic that USA can ignore the mainland China, which is so much bigger in size. If he tries to take back Taiwan, it shows Mao’s dislike on this issue. It also shows Chinese people that he is strong, it is an act which he has to do in order to keep his power in China and proving to USA.
Looking at the above incidents, we can see that Mao’s foreign policies had variety of different aims, but most of them were aimed the ensure the security of China. There are other events, which shows Mao aimed to ensure unity and had other intentions too. But the events I chose to include were more relevant and important to the topic. Therefore, it makes the essay more valid. Therefore, I can conclude that Mao’s foreign policies were mainly aimed to ensure the security of China, while he also aimed for other reasons such as ensuring his power. This means I mostly disagree with this statement, because the above reasons only support ensuring security of China.