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On This Day… France, America… Then China!

Written by: George Chittenden : 02 Jul 2019

It was on this day, 17th February, back in 1979 when China invaded Vietnam, following weeks of tension and military build-up along their borders. Hostilities between the two countries had increased dramatically since the end of the Vietnam War. This was partly down to the strengthening of ties between Vietnam and the Soviet Union, which was China’s enemy at the time.

It was also as retaliation for the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, as China was an ally of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge. China had no intention of claiming any of Vietnam’s territory, simply claiming they only wanted a peaceful and stable border. Thankfully China’s invasion force which consisted of around 90,000 troops, supported by tanks, withdrew after less than a month!

However, tens of thousands of lives were lost during the conflict which lasted until March 16th when the Chinese withdrew. Surprisingly both sides claimed victory and hostilities between the two countries continued for many years.

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