Dragons Entangled: Indochina and the China-Vietnam War

Dragons Entangled: Indochina and the China-Vietnam War

Dragons Entangled: Indochina and the China-Vietnam War

Dragons Entangled: Indochina and the China-Vietnam War

Synopsis

In February 1979, China launched a full scale attack on Vietnam bringing to the surface the deep tension between the two socialist neighbours. The importance of the resultant war is often overlooked. Millions of people throughout the region were affected, and the frictions that remain in the wake of the war threaten the prospects for peace not only in Southeast Asia, but also the whole Asia-Pacific region as well.

Excerpt

On February 14, 1979, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of the People's Republic of China (PRC) launched a full-scale military assault across the southern border of China into the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV). the invasion followed months of tense relations between the two nations, though the sudden action surprised many who doubted China's resolve actually to attack its neighbor. the war between the two Asian Communist countries, like the conflict between China and the Soviet Union, accentuates deep tensions between supposedly "fraternal" nations with socialist ideologies.

Very few people inside and outside the interdisciplinary realm of East Asian studies understand the importance of this war. Millions of people have been affected by it, both in Vietnam, along the Sino-Vietnamese border, and in Cambodia and Laos where Hanoi and Beijing have carried out much of their struggles. Official estimates put the number of people killed as a result of this conflict since 1978 to be well over 500,000. Yet despite an occasional glance at the conflict by the Western press, very little attention has been paid to this serious rift that sours the prospects for peace not only in Southeast Asia, but threatens the whole East Asian region as well.

There are several reasons for the lack of attention given to the this conflict, among them:

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