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History Sino-Vietnamese War

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Short version: Vietnam allied with Soviet Union instead of China during Sino-Soviet split and then toppled the pro China Khmer Rouge. China became enraged and wanted to "teach Vietnam a lesson".

Proofs of Vietnamese fighting capability - photos of PLA casualties

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Chinese soldier not having enough water



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good one

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a Chink getting shot in the face

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A small group of Vietnamese soldiers taking out Chinese tank (top left of the photo) during the night

Damaged Chinese tanks

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This tank above was abandonned by Chinese (possibly because they didnt want to die and became deserters instead)

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Chinese abbandoned their weapons to run quickly back to their homes

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(50k here probably means casualties)

https://youtube.com/clip/Ugkx-QnwJZSJTIVPCx4BZLoGE4jgf1cPeH8e

Out of 550 of Chinese tanks & armoured vehicles, China lost up to 280 of their tanks & armoured vehicles.

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went down to Vietnam in 1979 in January. The war started on the 29th of January. I was there for one month, from the 29th through the end of February. There were so many troops there. These troops were infantry troops located in Chengdu. That these were also fighting troops. We had railroad troops, construction troops, and these were fighting troops from the army. I think these troops, there were so many new soldiers that were enlisted. The civilians knew that it was a very intense situation along the Vietnam border and that their possibly would be a war, so they sent their sons to the military and they made sure their troops did not go into the Kunming, Chengdu or Guangzhou regiments which were on duty to fight in the border area. So if their children didn’t go to these armies under these commands, then they should be fine. These were the military headquarters. So it was the military regional headquarters. They made sure that the officers children weren’t there. They knew the inside story. The civilians didn’t. They had this trick where they could have all these soldiers transferred out. And so they took the children of the officers and the leading political powers and sent them to the northwest or the northeast far from the border area, but they sent the peasants there. The peasants wanted their children to go into the army to “grow height.” The peasants were so short, shorter than the city dwellers, because of their diet. But when they sent their sons into the army they had a good diet and they grew taller. So they always wanted their sons to go into the military to grow taller and become bigger people. So the peasants wanted army food and to grow to your full height. Then they switched. The rotated out the officers and soldiers from good families and rotated in peasants. But these new soldiers didn’t know they were going to the front. They panicked when they learned they were going to the front to fight. The first night they carried out the attack on the Vietnamese positions I was there. I was a war correspondent at that time.
They lacked war correspondents. I always wrote a nice diary or love stories or whatever. And they just had me in charge of writing about the war. They had put me in charge of the newspaper for our unit in Chengdu. These were sheets that were put on the wall with the news of the singing and dancing soldiers. I was in charge of the publicity for them.
I was sent in the morning, I was going to the military entertainment dance school, the to learn choreography each morning. I was 18 years old at the time. So for each thing I choreographed, I had to write the draft of the story line of the choreography, and sometimes the account was mingled with song, so in order to write the lyric, I had this skill and it came to me very naturally, and some of them were pretty good and they recognized me. They said your brain seems to work better than your body at this age, they found I was a better person to create things than to do things by order and the leader said, why don’t you just go ahead and create more. So my writing skill and all these things, then I applied for the job at the front, and said I was willing to go.
We were very close to the Vietnamese front and they were not posting much about it. But you heard things. When the fighting was about to break out, we could tell and this was all the talk of all the soldiers.
You don’t know exactly, but you kind of know, after New Year, Chinese New Year, there will be a war, and you know this, and you know suddenly the shortage of personnel as individuals are shipped off to the front. And officers from the headquarters newspaper came to our unit and talked to us and requested personnel for the approaching fight. That is when I volunteered. I didn’t know what fear was at that time. I still don’t know. Maybe fear of blood and guts, like Saving Private Ryan, but when it comes to the issue of losing life or dying, I had no concept of that nor did any of the others in our unit. There was a guy in the performing troop also who volunteered as a correspondent. His job in our unit was to write lyrics and to create ideas for the troop. The stories went to the newspaper, the War Banner, it’s always there, an old newspaper, it belonged to our military headquarters in Chengdu. Each headquarters had their own newspaper, we had military headquarter districts and each had its own newspaper. Beijing controlled Mongolia and Shanxi. Nanjing controlled Northeast and Anhui and Henan belonged to Guangzhou. Which controlled the sea and the south China Sea and Guanxi. Hainan island was controlled by Guangzhou. Xinjing belonged to Beijing. Getting to the front was easy. They gave us a special military special pass and you showed this to any train and they made a bed for you, you got the best compartment on the train, any train at any time. I went very fast and we didn’t have any trouble at all. We said we were told we would have everything provided for us when we reached the front. I just brought my military canvas bag. No money or anything. Everything is provided. We controlled the Kunming Front, called the Hong He front, the Red River front, from Yunnan province, the Red River front, but I didn’t go across the River into the other side. We had this military battlefield hospital on this bank of the Red River. That is where I needed to work and wanted to go. The battlefield was along the bank of the Red River. When I arrived there, I didn’t see many troops. I saw troops passing through by train with their artillery on the flat cars and I only saws many wounded soldiers coming back to the hospital. It was like 1000 soldiers were wounded the first night. But not many of them we noted, had lost their right arms below the forearms. We were told that the Vietnamese had mines hanging on the branches of the rain forest so when the soldiers were walking through the forest, they used their right hand pushing aside the forest growth and branches, and the branches had mines on them and exploded and blew off their arms. So many soldiers had their right arms missing. We knew this was a very cruel strategy. We were told that the Vietnamese never intended to kill the Chinese. What they sought to do was to maim Chinese and to send the handicapped people home to be a hardship to the remainder of society.
You have to live with so many wounded and handicapped forever, that’s going to be your burden forever. So and some soldiers had their legs blown off. Others were wounded by not so seriously. Very early in the fight they were wounded. Quickly. The military hospitals were filled with these soldiers. There was so much death. The surgeons had to be on duty for 72 hour shifts. And they couldn’t leave for the bathroom so they had them wear plastic pants so they could relieve themselves in the pants. Because you have no idea. They prepared enough surgeons, but they didn’t expect to see so many wounded soldiers. They didn’t expect the strategy to be like that, deliberately to maim you.
There was screaming and noise. But in a time, the soldiers didn’t make noise. If they could help it. But blood was so present, the floor was damp all the time and the weather was humid and hot. And the blood attracted so many red ants. And when the soldiers woke up from being wounded they found themselves covered with these red ants that were already devouring the blood and burrowing into their wounds. The smell of the blood attracted ants. One soldier had an arm missing, but he managed to crawl back, his jaw was missing. All down his throat, he couldn’t close his mouth, and ants had all crawled down his throat and covered his face and he was choking when he came in, crawled back from the front. He crawled for 11 hours, they said. I was so touched and moved. And it reflected to me, why is it necessary for these boys who are my age, 18 and 19, just out of high school and peasants. Why are they here? It was so quick it happened so quickly they had no time to respond to what was happening. It was our invasion, we invaded Vietnam, across the Red river. When I arrived, the first battle was already finished. But in the background there was always the rumble and rattle of guns. It never occured to me that we might be overrun. There were very few females around, most of the soldiers were boys. The females were not supposed to be sent into combat. They were male doctors and nurses, primarily.
I went to the front in March. I went a second time to a hospital, which was much nicer. After the first treatment they transport the soldiers to the military hospitals far from the battlefields, in safer places. These would be in Yunnan and Sichuan province, along the highways. These places, these soldiers, were much more sophisticated and knew how to complain when the food was too bad. I met a person who was a very experienced correspondent from the PLA Daily. When the wounded soldiers protested for the food, he was the leader. All the fresh food went to the visitors and the correspondents, people who came from higher power. And some officers made appearances, and they had the good food, they came to show their care and comfort, and all the fresh food went to these people, which we called the comforting group. Sometimes they were led by high ranking officers. So the military hospitals, each night they had big banquets for these comforting groups. So the soldiers ended up eating canned food or powdered eggs and stuff like that. All the fresh food and fresh meat and fresh fruit was transported to them from all over the country, just for them, but they didn’t get to eat it, they had only canned food. So this correspondent from the PLA Daily plotted this big protest and parade, he organized the soldiers, he was also wounded and lost his right arm. And I think then he got himself into trouble. Because some officers from much higher power got him removed from the hospital the right after this protest. They didn’t like anyone to agitate with the soldiers, they were considered treason. The result was that there was a compromise, they improved the soldiers food for a couple of days. When the noise died down, of course, they went back to the way they had been, the original standard. And I saw a soldier who was 19 or 20, who was a first lieutenant, just out of military school, infantry school. He had been an orphan and adopted by this farmer’s family. The farmer’s daughter was his childhood friend and when he grew up, the parents, made a decision that they should marry each other, these two children. They were getting along very well, they loved each other. So this man had put all his hope, all of his dreams into this family and some day marrying this girl and having his own family at last. He didn’t have family or anything else to comfort him. During the war he stepped on a mine and he got his testicles blown off. He was so depressed, he didn’t want to write to his fiancé and said, if I cannot marry this girl I have no family and no hope. My life is worth nothing any more. So the doctors in the hospital and the political officer said to me, You are a woman, you tell him how rich and fortunate he is. You must tell him that many women are dying to marry him and his fiancé will not care if he has testicles or not. You have to convince him of that. I was only 19 and I didn’t know these things. I didn’t think I should be talking about anything like this, even being told this. I thought I would be embarrassed to death. This officer said that this solder was hiding a broken surgery blade somewhere in the room and they felt that he might try to kill himself. They said they wanted to encourage him and that it was my political duty to talk to him and cheer him up and to save his life. So I finally agreed and I went to this soldier’s ward and he was very quiet and very nice, very timid. He was so small, I thought, and he seemed even younger than I was and shy. I was about to cry when I sat beside him. The tears were rolling down my face and I could not speak. And before I could utter any word an old nurse came and she was giving him a check up and a bath. And she tickled him a little and he burst out laughing. She kept tickling him and he brushed her hand away and laughed like a little child. So I watched this and I thought, OK he doesn’t need to hear my bullshit. So I said OK you should get a good rest and you’re such a nice boy. I didn’t say anything about what I was supposed to say. Next morning I heard that he had sliced his own throat during the night and died. Bled to death. I should have said something. I thought I could have saved him. And the officers came to me and said, did he say anything to you last night about wanting to take his life, and what dcd he say when you talked to him and told him that any woman would want to marry him. And when you talked to him, what did he say? Was there any hint about his feeling? No, I said, he seemed to be very happy? They asked, did you say what you were told to say, I lied to them and said, I did. I said what you told me to say. And? And he believed me and I thought he gave up that idea. What did you say to him? I said, if I were your fiancé I would marry you and live happy my whole life. But I think he made up his mind he wanted to go. Nobody could save him. And from this experience I really had misgivings about the war. I thought maybe a lot of lives were sacrificed, and for what? These two countries were friends? These two countries are supposed to have eternal friendship and they supported each other and were both communist for so long, why all of a sudden they turn guns on each other and kill each other. While they are still fighting in the border areas, If I have no match, no match, a soldier on the other side will throw a box of matches. They were so still so very used to good relations. But they were confused to fight each other on the front. So young lives are lost for no good cause that I could see.
I wrote short stories, two short stories, and three poems about life at the front. One poem was published in the PLA Daily and a short story published in our headquarters newspaper. Others were criticized and returned with criticism. You are making a sharp knife dull, they said, they accused me of making soldiers at the front cowards rather than heroes. I had made a sharp knife dull.
One story was a story was of a soldier who was stationed on the border before the war broke out, stationed there in the time when we had a good relationship. He met this Vietnamese girl and they went to the same street bazaars, and the same theater to watch movies. And during the war the girl was killed and by one of his comrades at the front. Just a very short story to express the irony of war and the fact that people are so used to peace and good times that they shared here. And they are so confused when they are fighting. So the army had to remove all of these soldiers that were border guards and to use others, because they had friendly relations with others on the other side and they could not bring themselves to fight. And they replaced them with peasants from outside the area. The more confused the better, when it comes to soldiers.
When I was sent to the place, the peasants were all removed from the area. So the people there had no disagreement. But the soldiers didn’t voice disillusionment, but from their facial expressions, they seemed all the time to be dumbounded or stunned by what they experienced. What is this, they seemed to ask. They could not figure out what was going on. They didn’t understand it.
I asked one young soldier, What did you do to the other side. What did we do to them? We did to them what the Japanese did to us. We killed their chickens and boiled them and ate them. We killed people when we saw them. We pierced all their farm animals with our bayonets and we took everything we didn’t kill. Just like we had seen in the movies of the Japanese. We cooked the chickens in our helmets.
He was sarcastic. He was very cynical. That was in March when they were already quieting down and suspicious about the government’s goals.
Well, it was like overall, what we were told is that we had to stop the Vietnamese in Cambodia because that is our friend. So we have to divide their military strength so we can pull them back and help a friend. They have to deal with us, so that will give Cambodia a chance. There were no fear of the Soviet Union, we were told that the Soviet Union equipped the Vietnamese, and they had better weapons than we did, actually. And the irony is that so many high ranking officers in Vietnam were trained by Chinese schools, in Beijing, where you have all the very high generals trained, not just Chinese but from all over, from the National Defense University. Vietnamese generals had been trained in that school and so they knew all of our military strategy. That is why they were so tough to deal with.
16, 17, 18, 19, those were the ages of the soldiers. Most were 18. But some young kids were so eager to join the army that they lied about their age. I lied about my age, too. I said I was 14 but actually I was 12 when I joined the Army. Since they didn’t get my civilian identification card, they didn’t know.
I was never afraid near the front. It was funny. When I had this patriotic feeling it was like nothing can touch me. I wanted to go right away. When I was told to return to my base at Chengdu, I went back. We could not talk on the phone or use the telegraph. You had to carry all of your correspondence back. They didn’t have telephone lines. All of them were occupied by the military for their use.
We didn’t use the air force, we were told, as that this would escalate the war. We only used infantry, level 3, and air force would be level 1, four dimensional war, and we didn’t want that. The Vietnamese also didn’t use an air force. But we used tanks.

I visited soldiers in the hospitals near the front. Some soldiers were wounded and lying in the hallways. And I said I didn’t see you yesterday, how did you get here. And they said we can’t talk about it. I tried to find out what had happened and discovered they were wounded by our own troops, and they felt dishonored and didn’t want anyone to know. They were casualties of friendly fire. They said they didn’t teach us that each tank should be followed by a squad of soldiers, when the tank attacks it is after the soldiers go to occupy the place. We walked by the tanks, rushed by them. And the soldiers in the tanks yelled, hey what are you doing and we said we don’t know we were just told to advance, so they passed the tank, we passed the tanks, and then the tanks received the command they should shoot the soldiers in front of them, so they shot the soldiers, these soldiers were supposed to stick with the tanks, they didn’t know, they were so ignorant of military maneuvers that they were not trained soldiers, they were so far ahead of the tanks, and in the evening when they saw these men on the horizon, they fired. Their own men, they were supposed to work with, miscommunication and inexperience. So many wounded and killed by these tanks.
The weather there was very humid and hot with lots of mosquitoes and big ants, and lots of fields of growing sugar cane, and the soldiers broke these and ate it. When I came back from the front, I went there twice, the second time I was awakened. And soldiers were from the front, when they went back to Chengdu to give talks to high school students and they made themselves out to be heroes, but in private they told us horrible and frightening stories. They talked about the soldiers and generals transferred to other areas right before the war. They really expressed their doubts and their cynicism toward war. They joked about everything. They still lied, however, to the high school students. When you were supposed to talk in public it was always different. Just they talked to raise moral, patriotic education. When they got back, they were not like the soldiers going to the front anymore. They became hoodlums. They had experienced life and death. When they returned to Chengdu and other cities, they ordered things in the restaurants without payin.g They would eat big meals and drink and when they got the bills they behaved like party officials. You want money from guys like us, they would say. I almost gave my life for you. What are you doing? Go charge the party secretary of the county, he will pay. So they were bold, very demanding, when they went to the public bathhouse they refused to stand in line, You want me to stand in line. Do you know how many medals I have. I went to fight for you, you pigs. So they became like bad news to the cities, trouble and problems.
From all these, they were, yes, they fought for no reason and no cause, no big cause, but for something they totally didn’t understand. So they came back with such tempers, you know.

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Comrade B in 1979 : the comment and prediction of a Vietnam leader on China aggression (Mao, Deng)

Date: 1979

Source:
People’s Army Library, Hanoi. Document obtained and translated for CWIHP by Christopher Goscha
Description:
Speech by Comrade B (Le Duan) regarding the plot of reactionary Chinese clique against Vietnam. Published in CWIHP Bulletin Nos 12/13.
COMRADE B ON THE PLOT OF THE REACTIONARY CHINESE CLIQUE AGAINST VIETNAM

(long read)

Generally speaking, after we had defeated the Americans, there was no imperialist that would dare to fight us again. The only persons who thought they could still fight us and dared to fight us were Chinese reactionaries. But the Chinese people did not want it like that at all. I do not know how much longer some of these Chinese reactionaries will continue to exist. However, as long as they do, then they will strike us as they have just recently done [meaning in early 1979]. If war comes from the north, then the [northern central] provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Thanh Hoa will become the bases for the entire country. They are unparalleled as the most efficient, the best and the strongest bases. For if the Deltas [in the north] continued as an uninterrupted stretch, then the situation would be very complicated. Not at all a simple matter. If it had not been for the Vietnamese, there would not have been anyone to fight the USA, because at the time the Vietnamese were fighting the USA, the rest of the world was afraid of the USA… Although the Chinese helped [North] Korea, it was only with the aim of protecting their own northern flank. After the fighting had finished [in Korea] and when the pressure was on Vietnam, he [this appears to be a reference to Zhou Enlai as the text soon seems to suggest] said that if the Vietnamese continued to fight they would have to fend for themselves. He would not help any longer and pressured us to stop fighting.

When we had signed the Geneva Accords, it was precisely Zhou Enlai who divided our country into two [parts]. After our country had been divided into northern and southern zones in this way, he once again pressured us into not doing anything in regard to southern Vietnam. They forbade us from rising up [against the US-backed Republic of Vietnam]. [But] they, [the Chinese,] could do nothing to deter us.

When we were in the south and had made preparations to wage guerrilla warfare immediately after the signing of the Geneva Accords, Mao Zedong told our Party Congress that we had to force the Lao to transfer immediately their two liberated provinces to [the] Vientiane government. Otherwise the Americans would destroy them, a very dangerous situation [in the Chinese view]! Vietnam had to work at once with the Americans [concerning this matter]. Mao forced us in this way and we had to do it.

Then, after these two [Lao] provinces had been turned over to Vientiane, the [Lao] reactionaries immediately arrested Souphanouvong [President of Laos, 1975-86]. The Lao had two battalions which were surrounded at the time. Moreover, they were not yet combat ready. Later, one battalion was able to escape [encirclement]. At that time, I gave it as my opinion that the Lao must be permitted to wage guerrilla warfare. I invited the Chinese to come and discuss this matter with us. I told them, “Comrades, if you go ahead pressuring the Lao in this way, then their forces will completely disintegrate. They must now be permitted to conduct guerrilla warfare.”

Zhang Wentian, who was previously the Secretary General [of the Chinese Communist Party] and used the pen name Lac Phu, answered me: “Yes, comrades, what you say is right. Let us allow that Lao battalion to take up guerrilla war”.

I immediately asked Zhang Wentian: “Comrades, if you allow the Lao to take up guerrilla war, then there is nothing to fear about launching guerrilla war in south Vietnam. What is it that frightens you so much so that you still block such action?”

He [Zhang Wentian] said: “There is nothing to be afraid of!”

That was what Zhang Wentian said. However, Ho Wei, the Chinese ambassador to Vietnam at that time, [and] who was seated there, was listening to what was being said. He immediately cabled back to China [reporting what had been said between Le Duan and Zhang Wentian]. Mao replied at once: “Vietnam cannot do that [taking up guerrilla war in the south]. Vietnam must lie in wait for a protracted period of time!” We were so poor. How could we fight the Americans if we did not have China as a rearguard base? [Thus], we had to listen to them, correct?

However, we did not agree. We secretly went ahead in developing our forces. When [Ngo Dinh] Diem dragged his guillotine machine throughout much of southern Vietnam, we issued the order to form mass forces to oppose the established order and to take power [from the Diem government]. We did not care [about the Chinese]. When the uprising to seize power had begun, we went to China to meet with both Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping. Deng Xiaoping told me: “Comrade, now that your mistake has become an accomplished fact, you should only fight at the level of one platoon downward.” That was the kind of pressure they exerted on us.

I said [to the Chinese]: “Yes, yes! I will do that. I will only fight at the level of one platoon downwards.” After we had fought and China realized that we could fight efficiently, Mao suddenly had a new line of thinking. He said that as the Americans were fighting us, he would bring in [Chinese] troops to help us build roads. His essential aim was to find out about the situation in our country so that later he could strike us, and thereby expand into Southeast Asia. There was no other reason. We were aware of this matter, but had to allow it [the entry of Chinese troops]. But that was OK. They decided to send in their soldiers. I only asked that they send personnel, but these troops came with guns and ammunition. I also had to countenance this.

Later, he [Mao Zedong] forced us to permit 20,000 of his troops to come and build a road from Nghe Tinh into Nam Bo [the Vietnamese term for southern Vietnam]. I refused. They kept proposing, but I would not budge. They pressured me into permitting them to come, but I did not accept it. They kept on pressuring, but I did not agree. I provide you with these examples, comrades, so that you can see their long-standing plot to steal our country, and how wicked their plot is.

After the Americans had introduced several hundred thousand troops into southern Vietnam, we launched a general offensive in 1968 to force them to de-escalate. In order to defeat the US, one had to know how to bring them to de-escalate gradually. That was our strategy. We were fighting a big enemy, one with a population of 200 million people and who dominated the world. If we could not bring them to de-escalate step-by- step, then we would have floundered and would have been unable to destroy the enemy. We had to fight to sap their will in order to force them to come to the negotiating table with us, yet without allowing them to introduce more troops.

When it came to the time when they wanted to negotiate with us, Ho Wei wrote a letter to us saying: “You cannot sit down to negotiate with the US. You must bring US troops into northern Vietnam to fight them.” He pressured us in this way, making us extremely puzzled. This was not at all a simple matter. It was very tiresome every time these situations arose [with the Chinese].

We decided that it could not be done that way [referring to Ho Wei's advice not to negotiate with the US]. We had to sit back down in Paris. We had to bring them [the US] to de-escalate in order to defeat them. During that time, China made the announcement [to the US]: “If you don’t attack me, I won’t attack you. However many troops you want to bring into Vietnam, it’s up to you.” China, of its own accord, did this and pressured us in this way.

They [the Chinese] vigorously traded with the Americans and compelled us to serve as a bargaining chip in this way. When the Americans realized that they had lost, they immediately used China [to facilitate] their withdrawal [from southern Vietnam]. Nixon and Kissinger went to China in order to discuss this matter.
- Before Nixon went to China, [the goal of his trip being] to solve the Vietnamese problem in such a way as to serve US interests and to lessen the US defeat, as well as to simultaneously allow him to entice China over to the US [side] even more, Zhou Enlai came to visit me. Zhou told me: “At this time, Nixon is coming to visit me principally to discuss the Vietnamese problem, thus I must come to meet you, comrade, in order to discuss [it with you].”

I answered: “Comrade, you can say whatever you like, but I still don’t follow. Comrade, you are Chinese; I am a Vietnamese. Vietnam is mine [my nation]; not yours at all. You have no right to speak [about Vietnam's affairs], and you have no right to discuss [them with the Americans]. Today, comrades, I will personally tell you something which I have not even told our Politburo, for, comrade, you have brought up a serious matter, and hence I must speak:
- In 1954, when we won victory at Dien Bien Phu, I was in Hau Nghia [province]. Bac [Uncle] Ho cabled to tell me that I had to go to southern Vietnam to regroup [the forces there] and to speak to the southern Vietnamese compatriots [about this matter]. I traveled by wagon to the south. Along the way, compatriots came out to greet me, for they thought we had won victory. It was so painful! Looking at my southern compatriots, I cried. Because after this [later], the US would come and massacre [the population] in a terrible way.

Upon reaching the south, I immediately cabled Bac Ho to ask to remain [in the south] and not to return to the north, so that I could fight for another ten years or more. [To Zhou Enlai]: “Comrade, you caused me hardship such as this [meaning Zhou's role in the division of Vietnam at Geneva in 1954]. Did you know that, comrade?”

Zhou Enlai said: “I apologize before you, comrade. I was wrong. I was wrong about that [meaning the division of Vietnam at Geneva].” After Nixon had already gone to China, he [Zhou Enlai] once again came to Vietnam in order to ask me about a number of problems concerning the fighting in southern Vietnam.
However, I immediately told Zhou Enlai: “Nixon has met with you already, comrade. Soon they [the US] will attack me even harder.” I am not at all afraid. Both sides [the US and China] had negotiated with each other in order to fight me harder. He [Zhou Enlai] did not as yet reject this [view] as unfounded, and only said that “I will send additional guns and ammunition to you comrades.”

Then he [Zhou Enlai] said [concerning fears of a secret US-Chinese plot]: “There was no such thing.” However, the two had discussed how to hit us harder, including B-52 bombing raids and the blocking of Haiphong [harbor]. This was clearly the case.

 If the Soviet Union and China had not been at odds with each other, then the US could not have struck us as fiercely as they did. As the two [powers of China and the Soviet Union] were in conflict, the Americans were unhampered [by united socialist bloc opposition]. Although Vietnam was able to have unity and solidarity both with China and the USSR, to achieve this was very complicated, for at that time we had to rely on China for many things. At that time, China annually provided assistance of 500,000 tons of foodstuffs, as well as guns, ammunition, money, not to mention dollar aid. The Soviet Union also helped in this way. If we could not do that [preserve unity and solidarity with China and the USSR], things would have been very dangerous. Every year I had to go to China twice to talk with them [the Chinese leadership] about [the course of events] in southern Vietnam. As for the Soviets, I did not say anything at all [about the situation in southern Vietnam]. I only spoke in general terms. When dealing with the Chinese, I had to say that both were fighting the US. Alone I went. I had to attend to this matter. I had to go there and talk with them many times in this way, with the main intention to build closer relations between the two sides [meaning Chinese and Vietnamese]. It was precisely at this time that China pressured us to move away from the USSR, forbidding us from going with the USSR’s [side] any longer.

They made it very tense. Deng Xiaoping, together with Kang Sheng, came and told me: “Comrade, I will assist you with several billion [presumably yuan] every year. You cannot accept anything from the Soviet Union.”

I could not allow this. I said:
“No, we must have solidarity and unity with the whole [socialist] camp.”

In 1963, when Khrushchev erred, [the Chinese] immediately issued a 25-point declaration and invited our Party to come and give our opinion. Brother Truong Chinh and I went together with a number of other brothers. In discussions, they [the Chinese] listened to us for ten or so points, but when it came to the point of “there is no abandonment of the socialist camp,” they did not listen…Deng Xiaoping said, “I am in charge of my own document. I seek your opinion but I do not accept this point of yours.”

Before we were to leave, Mao met with Brother Truong Chinh and myself. Mao sat down to chat with us, and in the end he announced: “Comrades, I would like you to know this. I will be president of 500 million land-hungry peasants, and I will bring an army to strike downwards into Southeast Asia.” Also seated there, Deng Xiaoping added: “It is mainly because the poor peasants are in such dire straits!”

Once we were outside, I told Brother Truong Chinh: “There you have it, the plot to take our country and Southeast Asia. It is clear now.” They dared to announce it in such a way. They thought we would not understand. It is true that not a minute goes by that they do not think of fighting Vietnam!

I will say more to you comrades so that you may see more of the military importance of this matter. Mao asked me:

In Laos, how many square kilometers [of land] are there?

I answered:
About 200,000 [sq. km.].

What is its population? [Mao asked]:

[I answered]: Around 3 million!

[Mao responded:] That’s not very much! I’ll bring my people there, indeed!

[Mao asked:] How many square kilometers [of land] are there in Thailand?.

[I responded]: About 500,000 [sq. km.].

And how many people? [Mao asked].

About 40 million! [I answered].

My God! [Mao said], Szechwan province of China has 500,000 sq. km., but has 90 million people. I’ll take some more of my people there, too [to Thailand]!

As for Vietnam, they did not dare to speak about moving in people this way. However, he [Mao] told me: “Comrade, isn’t it true that your people have fought and defeated the Yuan army?” I said: “Correct.” “Isn’t it also true, comrade, that you defeated the Qing army?” I said: “Correct.” He said: “And the Ming army as well?” I said: “Yes, and you too. I have beaten you as well. Did you know that?” I spoke with Mao Zedong in that way. He said: “Yes, yes!” He wanted to take Laos, all of Thailand – as well as wanting to take all of Southeast Asia. Bringing people to live there. It was complicated [to that point].

In the past [referring to possible problems stemming from the Chinese threat during these times], we had made intense preparations; it is not that we were unprepared. If we had not made preparations, the recent situation would have been very dangerous. It was not a simple matter. Ten years ago, I summoned together our brothers in the military to meet with me. I told them that the Soviet Union and the US were at odds with each other. As for China, they had joined hands with the US imperialists. In this tense situation, you must study this problem immediately. I was afraid that the military did not understand me, so I told them that there was no other way to understand the matter. But they found it very difficult to understand. It was not easy at all. But I could not speak in any other way. And I did not allow others to grab me.

When I went to the Soviet Union, the Soviets were also tough with me about China. The Soviet Union had convened a conference of 80 [communist] Parties in support of Vietnam, but Vietnam did not attend this conference, for [this gathering] was not simply aimed at helping Vietnam, but it was also designed to condemn China. Thus Vietnam did not go. The Soviets said: “Have you now abandoned internationalism [or] what? Why have you done this?” I said: “I have not abandoned internationalism at all. I have never done this. However, to be internationalist, the Americans must be defeated first. And if one wants to defeat the Americans, then there must be unity and solidarity with China. If I had gone to this conference, then the Chinese would have created very severe difficulties for us. Comrades, please understand me.”

In China there were also many different and contending opinions. Zhou Enlai agreed on forming a front with the Soviet Union in order to oppose the Americans. Once, when I went to the USSR to participate in a national day celebration, I was able to read a Chinese cable sent to the Soviet Union saying that “whenever someone attacks the USSR, then the Chinese will stand by your side.” [This was] because there was a treaty of friendship between the USSR and China dating from earlier times [February 1950]. Sitting next to Zhou Enlai, I asked him: “In this cable recently sent to the USSR, you have agreed, comrade, to establish a front with the Soviet Union, but why won’t you form a front to oppose the US?” Zhou Enlai said: “We can. I share that view. Comrades, I will form a front with you [on Vietnam].” Peng Zhen, who was also seated there, added: “This opinion is extremely correct!” But when the matter was discussed in Shanghai, Mao said it was not possible, cancel it. You see how complicated it was.

Although Zhou Enlai held a number of those opinions, he nonetheless agreed on building a front and [he] helped Vietnam a lot. It was thanks to him that I could understand [much of what was going on in China]. Otherwise it would have been very dangerous. He once told me: “I am doing my best to survive here, to use Li Chiang to accumulate and provide assistance for you, comrades.” And that there was [meaning that Zhou was able to use Li Chiang in order to help the Vietnamese]. My understanding is that without Zhou Enlai this would not have been possible at all. I am indebted to him.

However, it is not correct to say that other Chinese leaders shared Zhou Enlai’s view at all. They differed in many ways. It must be said that the most uncompromising person, the one with the Greater Han mentality, and the one who wanted to take Southeast Asia, was mainly Mao. All of [China's] policies were in his hands.

The same applies to the current leaders of China. We do not know how things will turn out in the future, however, [the fact of the matter is that] they have already attacked us. In the past, Deng Xiaoping did two things which have now been reversed. That is, when we won in southern Vietnam, there were many [leaders] in China who were unhappy. However, Deng Xiaoping nonetheless congratulated us. As a result of this, he was immediately considered a revisionist by the others.

When I went to China for the last time, I was the leader of the delegation, and I met with the Chinese delegation led by Deng Xiaoping. In speaking of territorial problems, including discussion of several islands, I said: “Our two nations are near each other. There are several areas of our territory which have not been clearly defined. Both sides should establish bodies to consider the matter. Comrades, please agree with me [on this]. He [Deng] agreed, but after doing so he was immediately considered a revisionist by the other group of leaders.

But now he [Deng] is crazy. Because he wants to show that he is not a revisionist, therefore he has struck Vietnam even harder. He let them go ahead in attacking Vietnam. After defeating the Americans we kept in place over one million troops, leading Soviet comrades to ask us: “Comrades, whom do you intend to fight that you keep such a large [standing] army?” I said: “Later, comrades, you will understand.” The only reason we had kept such a standing army was because of China['s threat to Vietnam]. If there had not been [such a threat], then this [large standing army] would have been unnecessary. Having been attacked recently on two fronts, [we can see that] it would have been very dangerous if we had not maintained a large army.

(B) [The meaning of this "B" in the original text is unclear] – In the wake of WWII, everyone held the international gendarme to be American imperialism. They could take over and bully all of the world. Everyone, including the big powers, were afraid of the US. It was only Vietnam that was not afraid of the US.

I understand this matter for my line of work has taught me it. The first person to fear [the Americans] was Mao Zedong. He told me, that is, the Vietnamese and Lao, that: “You must immediately turn over the two liberated provinces of Laos to the [Vientiane] [government]. If you do not do so, then the US will use it as a pretext to launch an attack. That is a great danger.” As for Vietnam, we said: “We have to fight the Americans in order to liberate southern Vietnam.” He [Mao] said: “You cannot do that. Southern Vietnam must lie in wait for a long period, for one lifetime, 5-10 or even 20 lifetimes from now. You cannot fight the Americans. Fighting the US is dangerous”. Mao Zedong was scared of the US to that extent…

But Vietnam was not scared. Vietnam went ahead and fought. If Vietnam had not fought the US, then southern Vietnam would not have been liberated. A country which is not yet liberated will remain a dependent one. No one is independent if only one-half of the country is free. It was not until 1975 that our country finally achieved its full independence. With independence would come freedom. Freedom should be freedom for the whole of the Vietnamese nation…

Engels had already spoken on people’s war. Later the Soviet Union, China, and ourselves also spoke [on this matter]. However, these three countries differ a lot on the content [of people's war]. It is not true that just because you have millions of people you can do whatever you like. China also spoke on people’s war, however, [they held that] “when the enemy advances, we must retreat.” In other words, defense is the main feature, and war is divided into three stages with the countryside used to surround the cities, while [the main forces] remain in the forests and mountains only… The Chinese were on the defensive and very weak [during World War II]. Even with 400 million people pitted against a Japanese army of 300,000 to 400,000 troops, the Chinese still could not defeat them.

I have to repeat it like that, for before China had sent advisers to us [some of our Vietnamese] brothers did not understand. They thought the [Chinese] were very capable. But they are not so skilled, and thus we did not follow [the Chinese advice].

In 1952, I left northern Vietnam for China, because I was sick and needed treatment. This was my first time abroad. I put questions to them [the Chinese] and saw many very strange things. There were areas [which had been] occupied by Japanese troops, each with a population of 50 million people, but which had not [had] a single guerrilla fighter…

When I returned from China, I met Uncle [Ho]. He asked me:

This was your first time to go abroad, isn’t that right?

Yes, I went abroad for the first time.

What did you see?

I saw two things: Vietnam is very brave and they [the Chinese] are not brave at all.
I understood this from that day on. We [the Vietnamese] were entirely different from them. Courage is inherent in the Vietnamese person, and thus we have never had a defensive strategy. Every inhabitant fights.

Recently, they [the Chinese] have brought several hundred thousand troops in to invade our country. For the most part, we have used our militia and regional troops to attack them. We were not on the defensive, and thus they suffered a setback. They were not able to wipe out a single Vietnamese platoon, while we wiped out several of their regiments and several dozen of their battalions. That is so because of our offensive strategy.

The American imperialists fought us in a protracted war. They were so powerful, yet they lost. But there was a special element, that is the acute contradictions between the Chinese and the Soviets. [Because of this,] they have attacked us hard like this.

…Vietnam fought the Americans, and fought them very fiercely, but we know that the US was an extremely large country, more than capable of amassing 10 million troops and bringing all of its considerably powerful weapons in to fight us. Therefore we had to fight over a long period of time in order to bring them to de-escalation. We were the ones who could do this; the Chinese could not. When the American army attacked Quang Tri, the Politburo ordered troops to be brought in to fight at once. We were not afraid. After that I went to China to meet Zhou Enlai. He told me: “It [the attack in Quang Tri] is probably unparalleled, unique. In life there is only one [chance,] not two. No one has ever dared to do what you, comrades, have done.”

…Zhou Enlai was the Chief of the General Staff. He dared to speak, he was more frank. He told me: “If I had known before the ways which you comrades employ, we would not have needed the Long March.” What was the Long March for? At the beginning of the march there were 300,000 troops; and at the end of the Long March there were only 30,000 remaining. 270,000 people were lost. It was truly idiotic to have done it in this way – speak as such so that you, comrades, know how much we are ahead of them. In the near future, if we are to fight against China, we will certainly win… However, the truth is that if a different country [other than Vietnam] were to fight against China, it is not clear that they would win like this [like Vietnam].

…If China and the USSR had been united with each other, then it is not certain that the US would have dared to fight us. If the two had been united and joined together to help us, it is not certain that the US would have dared to have fought us in the way in which they did. They would have balked from the very beginning. They would have balked in the same way during the Kennedy period. Vietnam, China, and the USSR all helped Laos and the US immediately signed a treaty with Laos. They did not dare to send American troops to Laos, they let the Lao [People's Revolutionary] Party participate in the government right away. They did not dare to attack Laos any more.
Later, as the two countries [the USSR and China] were at odds with each other, the Americans were informed [by the Chinese] that they could go ahead and attack Vietnam without any fear. Don’t be afraid [of Chinese retaliation]. Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong told the Americans: “If you don’t attack me, then I won’t attack you. You can bring in as many troops into southern Vietnam as you like. It’s up to you.”

…We are [presently] bordering on a very strong nation, one with expansionist intentions which, if they are to be implemented, must start with an invasion of Vietnam. Thus, we have to shoulder yet another, different historical role. However, we have never shirked from our historical tasks. Previously, Vietnam did carry out its tasks, and this time Vietnam is determined not to allow them to expand. Vietnam preserves its own independence, and by doing so is also safeguarding the independence of Southeast Asian nations. Vietnam is resolved not to allow the Chinese to carry out their expansionist scheme. The recent battle [with China] was one round only. Presently, they are still making preparations in many fields. However, whatever the level of their preparations, Vietnam will still win…

Waging war is no leisurely walk in the woods. Sending one million troops to wage war against a foreign country involves countless difficulties. Just recently they brought in 500,000 to 600,000 troops to fight us, yet they had no adequate transport equipment to supply food to their troops. China is presently preparing 3.5 million troops, but they have to leave half of them on the [Sino-Soviet] border to deter the Soviets. For that reason, if they bring 1 or 2 million troops in to fight us, we will not be afraid of anything. We have just engaged 600,000 troops, and, if, in the near future, we have to fight 2 million, it will not be a problem at all. We are not afraid.

We are not afraid because we already know the way to fight. If they bring in 1 million troops, they will only gain a foothold in the north. Descending into the mid-lands, the deltas, and into Hanoi and even further downwards would be difficult. Comrades, as you know, Hitler’s clique struck fiercely in this way, yet when they [the German Nazis] arrived in Leningrad they could not enter. With the cities, the people, and defense works, it is impossible to carry out effective attacks against each and every inhabitant. Even fighting for two, three, or four years they will still not be able to enter. Every village there [in the north] is like this. Our guidelines are: Each district is a fortress, each province a battlefield. We will fight and they will not be able to enter at all.

However, it is never enough just to fight an enemy at the frontline. One must have a strong direct rearguard. After the recent fighting ended, we assessed that, in the near future, we must add several million more people to the northern front. But as the enemy comes from the north, the direct rear for the whole country must be Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh… The direct rear to protect the capital must be Thanh Hoa and Nghe Tinh. We have enough people. We can fight them in many ways… We can use 2 to 3 army corps to inflict a strong blow on them that will make them stagger, while we continue to hold our land. To this end, each soldier must be a real soldier and each squad a real squad.

- Having now fought one battle already, we should not be subjective. Subjectivism and underestimation of the enemy are incorrect, but a lack of self-confidence is also wrong. We are not subjective, we do not underestimate the enemy. But we are also confident and firmly believe in our victory. We should have both these things.

- The Chinese now have a plot to attack [us] in order to expand southwards. But in the present era nothing can be done and then wrapped up tidily. China has just fought Vietnam for a few days, yet the whole world has shouted: ["]Leave Vietnam alone!["] The present era is not like the olden times. In those days, it was only us and them [meaning the Chinese]. Now the whole world is fastened closely together. The human species has not yet entered the socialist phase at all; instead this is a time where everyone wants independence and freedom. [Even] on small islands, people want independence and freedom. All of humankind is presently like this. That is very different than it was in olden times. In those days, people were not yet very aware of these things. Thus the sentence of Uncle Hò: “There is nothing more precious than independence and freedom” is an idea of the present era. To lay hands on Vietnam is to lay hands on humanity and infringe on independence and freedom… Vietnam is a nation that symbolizes independence and freedom.

- When it came to fighting the US, our brothers in the Politburo had to discuss together this matter to consider whether we dared to fight the US or not. All were agreed to fight. The Politburo expressed its resolve: In order to fight the Americans, we must not fear the USA. All were of the same mind. As all agreed to fight the US, to have no fear of the USA, we must also not fear the USSR. All agreed. We must also not fear China. All agreed. If we don’t fear these three things, we can fight the US. This was how we did things in our Politburo at that time.
Although the Politburo met and held discussions like this and everyone was of the same mind, there was later one person who told a comrade what I said. That comrade rose to question the Politburo, asking for what reason does Anh Ba once again say that if we want to fight the Americans then we should not fear the Chinese? Why does he have to put it this way again?

At that time, Brother Nguyen Chi Thanh, who thus far was suspected of being sympathetic to the Chinese, stood up and said: “Respected Politburo and respected Uncle Ho, the statement of Anh Ba was correct. It must be said that way [referring to the need not to fear the Chinese], for they [the Chinese] give us trouble on many matters. They blocked us here, then forced our hands there. They do not let us fight…”

While we were fighting in southern Vietnam, Deng Xiaoping stipulated that I (toi) could only fight at the level of one platoon downward, and must not fight at a higher level. He [Deng Xiaoping] said: “In the south, since you have made the mistake of starting the fighting already, you should only fight at the level of one platoon downward, not at a higher level.” That is how they brought pressure to bear on us.

- We are not afraid of anyone. We are not afraid because we are in the right. We do not fear even our elder brother. We also do not fear our friends. Of course, we do not fear our enemies. We have fought them already. We are human beings; we are not afraid of anyone. We are independent. All the world knows we are independent.

We must have a strong army, because our nation is under threat and being bullied… It cannot be otherwise. If not, then it will be extremely dangerous, but our country is poor.

- We have a strong army, but that does not in any way weaken us. The Chinese have several policies towards us: To invade and to occupy our country; to seek to weaken us economically and to make our living condi- tions difficult. For these reasons, in opposing China we must, first of all, not only fight, but also make ourselves stronger. To this end, in my view, our army should not be a force that wastes the resources of the state, but should also be a strong productive force. When the enemies come, they [the soldiers] grab their guns at once. When no enemy is coming, then they will produce grandly. They will be the best and highest symbol in production, producing more than anyone else. Of course, that is not a new story…

- At present, our army shoulders an historical task: to defend our independence and freedom, while simultaneously protecting the peace and independence of the whole world. If the expansionist policy of the reactionary Chinese clique cannot be implemented any longer, that would be in the interest of the whole world. Vietnam can do this. Vietnam has 50 million people already. Vietnam has Lao and Cambodian friends and has secure terrain. Vietnam has our camp and all of mankind on its side. It is clear that we can do this.

…Do our comrades know of anyone in our Party, among our people, who suspects that we will lose to China? No one, of course. But we must maintain our friendly relations. We do not want national hatred. I repeat: I say this because I have never felt hatred for China. I do not feel this way. It is they who fight us. Today I also want you comrades to know that in this world, the one who has defended China is myself! That is true. Why so? Because during the June 1960 conference in Bucharest, 60 Parties rose to oppose China, but it was only I who defended China. Our Vietnamese people is like that. I will go ahead and repeat this: However badly they behave, we know that their people are our friends. As for our side, we have no evil feelings towards China. Yet the plot of several [Chinese] leaders is a different matter. We refer to them as a clique only. We do not refer to their nation. We did not say the Chinese people are bad towards us. We say that it is the reactionary Beijing clique. I again say it strictly like this.

Thus, let us keep the situation under firm control, remain ready for combat, and never relax in our vigilance. It is the same with respect to China. I am confident that in 50 years, or even in 100 years, socialism may succeed; and then we will not have this problem any longer. But it will take such a [long] time. Therefore, we must prepare and stand ready in all respects.

At present, no one certainly has doubts any more. But five years ago I was sure there [were no] comrades who doubted] that China could strike us. But there were. That as the case because [these] comrades had no knowledge about this matter. But that was not the case with us [Le Duan and the leadership]. We knew that China had been attacking us for some ten years or more. Therefore we were not surprised [by the January 1979 Chinese attack]

(Book Author & Historical Context Behind The Book)

Comrade B; Le Duan is the top leader of Vietnam at the time of this secret speech in 1979 after the invasion of China defeated.
His speech focused on Vietnam view, think and response to China leader policies stretched from 1950s to 1979.

As a part of Vietnam war history, Comrade B explains how China act to Vietnam, Soviet Union and Vietnam responses during 1950-1979

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On 29 January 1979, Chinese Vice-premier Deng Xiaoping visited the United States for the first time and told American president Jimmy Carter: "The child is getting naughty, it is time he got spanked" (小朋友不听话,该打打屁股了).

...

In February 1979 the cross-border shelling and infantry skirmishing escalated into a full-scale conflict as the Chinese poured across the border to ''teach Vietnam a lesson,'' as the action was described by Deng Xiaoping, the pre-eminent leader in Peking.

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Earlier this year (1985), at the height of the five-month dry season, Chinese officials spoke openly of teaching Vietnam ''a second lesson,'' and diplomats in Peking went on the alert for signs of another full-scale war.

Deng: You know, it’s a good thing that no Communist party feels itself to be patriarchally at the center of the movement — that there’s no center, no boss. At the outset, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union filled that role, but it is no longer the party led by Lenin. It is no accident that we regard the Soviet Union as an imperialist country and… yes, imperialist — socialist-imperialist. And since the country led by that party has become an imperialist country, it’s questionable if that party can still be considered a Communist party.

Fallaci: Yes, I wasn’t really alluding to that so much as the fact that today, in the world, the only armed conflicts are between Communist countries. For Christ’s sake! — leaving the Arabs to one side, on the other side there is no one country that hates another country with the same irreducible fervor that Communist countries seem to feel for each other. The Soviet Union against China, and vice versa; China against Vietnam, and vice versa; Vietnam against Cambodia, and vice versa… I said the same thing to Berlinguer.

Deng: Do you want to talk about the Vietnamese? Look, from a globally strategic point of view, the Vietnamese are merely following in the Soviet Union’s footsteps. As I always say, they’ve become the Cuba of the East. Isn’t it proof enough that they’ve occupied Laos and Cambodia? What else do you need to see before you ask, “What the hell kind of country is this?” We Chinese are completely unable to understand why they’ve opposed themselves to us. During their struggle for independence, we helped them greatly. We never abandoned them — never. Nor did we interfere with their internal affairs. Do you even know the kind of help we gave them over the years? The aid we sent is, comprehensively, about $20 billion. And we never asked anything in return. I’ll say this: $20 billion is a lot of money for a poor country like China.

Fallaci: But then you killed each other in a conflict that amounted to a small war.

Deng: Yes, it’s true that we launched a defensive counterattack against them. But, judging by the results, I don’t think that it was very effective. We were too contained; we saw that many countries were against this action, and as a result we were too contained. But the episode proved how determined we are to chastise the tiger. And we reserve the right to chastise the tiger again.

https://redsails.org/deng-and-fallaci/

China tries to forget, but its war with Vietnam ended with a US victory. Just look at Trump

  • The 40th anniversary of the Sino-Vietnamese war is passing largely unnoticed in China, where all commemorative activity has been banned
  • But Vietnam bitterly recalls the conflict that tore two ideological allies apart – and sent Hanoi into American arms

 

The 40th anniversary of the Sino-Vietnamese War went unnoticed in China, as no commemorative activities were allowed in the country – not even any Vietnam-related posts on social media.

But this was not the case in Vietnam, as state-run media and newspapers published in-depth features and critical commentaries recalling the fierce fight from February 17 to March 16, 1979. An editorial in The Voice of Vietnam, a Communist Party mouthpiece, called the war a “righteous … struggle to defend the motherland” and condemned China’s “brutal and illogical invasion”.

China should not forget this history. The anniversary provides a good chance for reflection, as many young Chinese lost their lives in the war – also in the name of defending their motherland.

Back then Beijing made no secret of its motivation to teach an “ungrateful” former ally a lesson, after Hanoi apparently switched its alliance to the Soviet Union by signing the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with China’s chief rival at the time in November 1978.

The Sino-Vietnamese war was also widely thought of as an effort to stop Hanoi’s campaign to oust the China-backed Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, which had taken the form of an invasion of Phnom Penh.

If so, the Chinese campaign was somewhere between pointless and a complete failure, as it failed to achieve either goal. Vietnamese troops remained in Cambodia until the late 1980s, while Beijing-backed Pol Pot was ousted and the rebels were forced to retreat to Cambodia’s remote western region. Hanoi went on to forge an even closer alliance with Moscow as a result of China’s invasion. Nevertheless, the war had a lasting impact not only on the two countries’ relationship, but also on China’s relations with China’s neighbours. It reshaped geopolitics in the region, and its legacy endures today.

The short-lived but bl.oody military conflict took a heavy toll in terms of casualties as well as economic losses for both countries. While Beijing and Hanoi have failed to provide full details, Western estimates count 28,000 dead Chinese soldiers and a further 43,000 wounded, while putting the Vietnamese casualties at 20,000 to 35,000 – many of them civilians because the war was fought exclusively on Vietnamese soil.

The painful chapter completely destroyed the countries’ traditional friendship, nurtured by their communist founding fathers Mao Zedong and Ho Chi Minh and once described by Chairman Mao Zedong “as close as lips and teeth”.

That friendship was built on a shared ideology and forged by China’s support of Vietnam during the decades it spent at war, first with France and then with the United States, for which Beijing provided 20 billions of dollars in aid and sent about 320,000 soldiers to help its ally.

The Sino-Vietnamese war undermined China’s image as a peace-loving nation and raised suspicions about the non-hegemonic diplomacy it had long claimed to have.

Many nations were horrified to see 600,000 Chinese troops cross the 600km border into Vietnam’s six northernmost provinces, just to teach a lesson to an “unthankful” former ally.

The skirmish sowed a seed of hatred and cultivated distrust between the two peoples. The Vietnamese see their war against the Chinese as comparable to their battles after the French and American invasions, as they fought to safeguard their national independence.

It also resulted in continued spats along the armed border throughout the 1980s. There was also further conflict in territorial disputes, including a 1988 naval battle over a contested reef in the South China Sea, before the two sides formally ended tensions and restored full diplomatic relations in 1991.

This friction also rekindled memories of a historical enmity dating back millennia. Chinese incursions into what is today Vietnamese territory go back as far as 1BC. For centuries, many of China’s smaller neighbours were subjects to its imperial rule.

The most unwanted legacy of the war is that it helped reshape today’s geopolitics in the region, pushing a former comrade in arms into the embrace of what was once their former common foe – the US.

Without that bl.oody war, Vietnam and China would be close diplomatic allies and ideological bedfellows, two of the world’s five surviving communist-ruled and self-declared socialist states, which also include North Korea, Laos and Cuba.

Hanoi’s diplomatic relations with Washington have arguably never been better. US President Donald Trump’s choice of Hanoi as the venue of his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un– Trump’s second visit to Vietnam since taking office two years ago – speaks volumes.

https://web.archive.org/web/20220107014251/https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/opinion/article/2188181/china-tries-forget-its-war-vietnam-ended-us-victory-just-look

Grossman said

“It is convenient for Vietnam to be more vocal about the anniversary ... But this is the last time China fought a war and lost. If they start to talk about it, it could open up a whole can of worms where others can say ‘well, you are actually bullying Vietnam and other counter claimants right now’. To bring it up would be bad news for Beijing.”

Collin Koh, a research fellow in maritime security at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said China’s losses at the hands of the Vietnamese were a sore point for the military.

“One likely reason why China would downplay this war is because PLA troops got a bloody nose at the hands of not even regular [Vietnamese People’s Army] troops, but local militia,” Koh said.

“Overall, the border war with Vietnam might have been touted by Beijing as a strategic victory in ‘teaching a lesson’ to Hanoi but clearly the military setbacks suffered despite its numerical and certain qualitative advantages over the Vietnamese could have been regarded as nothing short of embarrassing.”

A video for entertainment

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From my point of view, there are 5 main reasons for why the war happened:

 

First, Deng Xiaoping's wanting to consolidate his power by showing how much command/control he had over the army.

 

Second, punishment to Vietnam for siding with Soviet Union and toppling pro China Khmer Rougue but not wanting to escalate the war into a big conflict with Soviet Union nor being perceived by America as a destabilizer of the region. Thus the war was declared by China to be limited war. To China, the looting of border provinces and the destruction of their infrastructures were good enough punishment, no need for the destruction of the main Vietnamese military force stationed near the capital.

 

Third, making Vietnam withdraw its forces from Cambodia so that Khmer Rouge could come back

 

Fourth, seeking to ruin the Soviet Union's reputation & attack the Soviet Union in an indirect way

 

Fifth, convincing America that China was no longer part of Eastern Block led by Soviet Union and getting accepted into the trade order of the Western block.

 

In Deng Xiaoping time, the war was a success. 4 out of 5 strategic objectives (for internal & international politics) were fulfilled.

 

However in modern times, the war is a stain. As China seek to be a major arms exporter, this war does not provide much credibility to their arms. Also the war made people question Chinese's capability in fighting on a terrain that is foreign to them. Furthermore the war provided embarassing photos/materials of Chinese army for anti China folks.

 

In 1979, CCP and Deng Xiaoping won the war. In 2023, its Vietnam who have the last laugh.

 

1st vid - war to consolidate power in internal politics

2nd - war to show one's allegiance

3rd - 3-4 days conflict that became 21 days conflict

 

You can see that this war is mentioned on academic papers by military people but is never mentioned by Western media. The intel sharing between the Yanks and the Chinks to strike on Vietnam was dirty stuff.

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According to this guy who has insider info, it was not just the fact of Vietnam siding with Soviet Union that angered China but it was the manner of  Vietnam siding with Soviet Union.

During Vietnam war, North Vietnam signed treaties with favourable terms to China and was expected to repay China's aid in one form or another after the war is done. However the unified Vietnam chose to not fulfill its end of bargains in those agreements and not repay 20 billion aid. Then Vietnam chose to get aid from Soviet Union. Thats why Deng Xiao Ping was so pissed.

Then Vietnam unintentionally ruined China's reputation as a great power when the world saw that China could not protect its client Khmer Rogue against Soviet backed Vietnam.

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Posted by: @dumatkn

I'll give an internal, deep rooted concious and its psyche answer as to why chinese invaded: natural backstabber characteristic and inferiority complex.

Even before china invaded vietnam, or before vietnamese signed the treaty of coop with the soviets, rhe chinese were already shaking hands with the yanks. Lets not forget they took the paracels too. Thats like if vietnamese took hong kong macau or taiwan. Look at the chinaman wearing a cowboy hat LOL chinese sucking american glocks, yet present day chinese hate america 

The chinese broke off their relationship with the soviets because they were bothered by their inferiority complex to the soviets. Lets not forget mao boy starved 50 mil chinese to smelt cooking utensils and equipment into crude steel + useless debris to meet the demands of the soviets  (that they themselves declared). They wanted to be the boss of the world. Soviets werent scared of some bugmen though. 

 -

So they backstabbed the soviets, vietnam and the entirety of the comintern, the very political ideology of their nation to side with the US + friends -and would later backstab the US, japan, EU, UN, NATO in rhe present day who opened their economy to the world and shared business models and even military equipment. China and chinese are a people who will always betray you as proven by history. It's not just their culture but in their genes and DNA to stab your back and naturally lie. 

-

The chinese further projected their insecurity onto the vietnamese by telling their khmer slaves to kill vietnamese yuons - and would invade vietnam for vietnamese saving their own innocent civillians from getting merked. The way they invaded is the slimiest sneakiest shit too. They invaded without a declaration of war and snuck troops near the border.Thanks to soviet intel and viet scouts, vietnamese could prepare themselves a little bit, but still did not have enough time to prepare themselves efficiently. Little deng had to get daddy US for approval and support to invade vietnam LoL  

FIrst thing chinese did was deploying 600k regulars to kill civvies, real powerful of the pla. Viet militia and border guards who did not have the equipment that a regular would were outequipped and short on ammo - yet still held their own against the chinese scum. Waves and hordes of chinese bodies zergrushing to get to the vietnamese positions were mulled down by the vietnamese, like an FPS shooting game on easy mode LoL . But alas, you cant stop an infinite amount of insects because you will run out of bugspray. Vietnamese had to resort to makeshift bombs to explode chinese flesh.

When the vietnamese mobilized 2 divisions from the corps in cambodia and airlifted them to hanoi, the chinese shit their bricks and retreated back to bugland. These vietnamese corps were battle hardened and seasonsed fighters already. Cowardly chinese burnt down villages and took all their anger on civvies by massacring them. So what did chinese accomplish militarily? Bullying villagers and civvies and looting their shit. Remember the heroes who fought the chinksect! 

Posted by: @dumatkn

Comrade B in 1979 : the comment and prediction of a Vietnam leader on China aggression (Mao, Deng)

Date:
1979 Source:
People’s Army Library, Hanoi. Document obtained and translated for CWIHP by Christopher Goscha
Description:
Speech by Comrade B (Le Duan) regarding the plot of reactionary Chinese clique against Vietnam. Published in CWIHP Bulletin Nos 12/13.
COMRADE B ON THE PLOT OF THE REACTIONARY CHINESE CLIQUE AGAINST VIETNAM

Spoiler
long read

Generally speaking, after we had defeated the Americans, there was no imperialist that would dare to fight us again. The only persons who thought they could still fight us and dared to fight us were Chinese reactionaries. But the Chinese people did not want it like that at all. I do not know how much longer some of these Chinese reactionaries will continue to exist. However, as long as they do, then they will strike us as they have just recently done [meaning in early 1979]. If war comes from the north, then the [northern central] provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Thanh Hoa will become the bases for the entire country. They are unparalleled as the most efficient, the best and the strongest bases. For if the Deltas [in the north] continued as an uninterrupted stretch, then the situation would be very complicated. Not at all a simple matter. If it had not been for the Vietnamese, there would not have been anyone to fight the USA, because at the time the Vietnamese were fighting the USA, the rest of the world was afraid of the USA… Although the Chinese helped [North] Korea, it was only with the aim of protecting their own northern flank. After the fighting had finished [in Korea] and when the pressure was on Vietnam, he [this appears to be a reference to Zhou Enlai as the text soon seems to suggest] said that if the Vietnamese continued to fight they would have to fend for themselves. He would not help any longer and pressured us to stop fighting.

When we had signed the Geneva Accords, it was precisely Zhou Enlai who divided our country into two [parts]. After our country had been divided into northern and southern zones in this way, he once again pressured us into not doing anything in regard to southern Vietnam. They forbade us from rising up [against the US-backed Republic of Vietnam]. [But] they, [the Chinese,] could do nothing to deter us.

When we were in the south and had made preparations to wage guerrilla warfare immediately after the signing of the Geneva Accords, Mao Zedong told our Party Congress that we had to force the Lao to transfer immediately their two liberated provinces to [the] Vientiane government. Otherwise the Americans would destroy them, a very dangerous situation [in the Chinese view]! Vietnam had to work at once with the Americans [concerning this matter]. Mao forced us in this way and we had to do it.

Then, after these two [Lao] provinces had been turned over to Vientiane, the [Lao] reactionaries immediately arrested Souphanouvong [President of Laos, 1975-86]. The Lao had two battalions which were surrounded at the time. Moreover, they were not yet combat ready. Later, one battalion was able to escape [encirclement]. At that time, I gave it as my opinion that the Lao must be permitted to wage guerrilla warfare. I invited the Chinese to come and discuss this matter with us. I told them, “Comrades, if you go ahead pressuring the Lao in this way, then their forces will completely disintegrate. They must now be permitted to conduct guerrilla warfare.”

Zhang Wentian, who was previously the Secretary General [of the Chinese Communist Party] and used the pen name Lac Phu, answered me: “Yes, comrades, what you say is right. Let us allow that Lao battalion to take up guerrilla war”.

I immediately asked Zhang Wentian: “Comrades, if you allow the Lao to take up guerrilla war, then there is nothing to fear about launching guerrilla war in south Vietnam. What is it that frightens you so much so that you still block such action?”

He [Zhang Wentian] said: “There is nothing to be afraid of!”

That was what Zhang Wentian said. However, Ho Wei, the Chinese ambassador to Vietnam at that time, [and] who was seated there, was listening to what was being said. He immediately cabled back to China [reporting what had been said between Le Duan and Zhang Wentian]. Mao replied at once: “Vietnam cannot do that [taking up guerrilla war in the south]. Vietnam must lie in wait for a protracted period of time!” We were so poor. How could we fight the Americans if we did not have China as a rearguard base? [Thus], we had to listen to them, correct?

However, we did not agree. We secretly went ahead in developing our forces. When [Ngo Dinh] Diem dragged his guillotine machine throughout much of southern Vietnam, we issued the order to form mass forces to oppose the established order and to take power [from the Diem government]. We did not care [about the Chinese]. When the uprising to seize power had begun, we went to China to meet with both Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping. Deng Xiaoping told me: “Comrade, now that your mistake has become an accomplished fact, you should only fight at the level of one platoon downward.” That was the kind of pressure they exerted on us.

I said [to the Chinese]: “Yes, yes! I will do that. I will only fight at the level of one platoon downwards.” After we had fought and China realized that we could fight efficiently, Mao suddenly had a new line of thinking. He said that as the Americans were fighting us, he would bring in [Chinese] troops to help us build roads. His essential aim was to find out about the situation in our country so that later he could strike us, and thereby expand into Southeast Asia. There was no other reason. We were aware of this matter, but had to allow it [the entry of Chinese troops]. But that was OK. They decided to send in their soldiers. I only asked that they send personnel, but these troops came with guns and ammunition. I also had to countenance this.

Later, he [Mao Zedong] forced us to permit 20,000 of his troops to come and build a road from Nghe Tinh into Nam Bo [the Vietnamese term for southern Vietnam]. I refused. They kept proposing, but I would not budge. They pressured me into permitting them to come, but I did not accept it. They kept on pressuring, but I did not agree. I provide you with these examples, comrades, so that you can see their long-standing plot to steal our country, and how wicked their plot is.

After the Americans had introduced several hundred thousand troops into southern Vietnam, we launched a general offensive in 1968 to force them to de-escalate. In order to defeat the US, one had to know how to bring them to de-escalate gradually. That was our strategy. We were fighting a big enemy, one with a population of 200 million people and who dominated the world. If we could not bring them to de-escalate step-by- step, then we would have floundered and would have been unable to destroy the enemy. We had to fight to sap their will in order to force them to come to the negotiating table with us, yet without allowing them to introduce more troops.

When it came to the time when they wanted to negotiate with us, Ho Wei wrote a letter to us saying: “You cannot sit down to negotiate with the US. You must bring US troops into northern Vietnam to fight them.” He pressured us in this way, making us extremely puzzled. This was not at all a simple matter. It was very tiresome every time these situations arose [with the Chinese].

We decided that it could not be done that way [referring to Ho Wei's advice not to negotiate with the US]. We had to sit back down in Paris. We had to bring them [the US] to de-escalate in order to defeat them. During that time, China made the announcement [to the US]: “If you don’t attack me, I won’t attack you. However many troops you want to bring into Vietnam, it’s up to you.” China, of its own accord, did this and pressured us in this way.

They [the Chinese] vigorously traded with the Americans and compelled us to serve as a bargaining chip in this way. When the Americans realized that they had lost, they immediately used China [to facilitate] their withdrawal [from southern Vietnam]. Nixon and Kissinger went to China in order to discuss this matter.
- Before Nixon went to China, [the goal of his trip being] to solve the Vietnamese problem in such a way as to serve US interests and to lessen the US defeat, as well as to simultaneously allow him to entice China over to the US [side] even more, Zhou Enlai came to visit me. Zhou told me: “At this time, Nixon is coming to visit me principally to discuss the Vietnamese problem, thus I must come to meet you, comrade, in order to discuss [it with you].”

I answered: “Comrade, you can say whatever you like, but I still don’t follow. Comrade, you are Chinese; I am a Vietnamese. Vietnam is mine [my nation]; not yours at all. You have no right to speak [about Vietnam's affairs], and you have no right to discuss [them with the Americans]. Today, comrades, I will personally tell you something which I have not even told our Politburo, for, comrade, you have brought up a serious matter, and hence I must speak:
- In 1954, when we won victory at Dien Bien Phu, I was in Hau Nghia [province]. Bac [Uncle] Ho cabled to tell me that I had to go to southern Vietnam to regroup [the forces there] and to speak to the southern Vietnamese compatriots [about this matter]. I traveled by wagon to the south. Along the way, compatriots came out to greet me, for they thought we had won victory. It was so painful! Looking at my southern compatriots, I cried. Because after this [later], the US would come and massacre [the population] in a terrible way.

Upon reaching the south, I immediately cabled Bac Ho to ask to remain [in the south] and not to return to the north, so that I could fight for another ten years or more. [To Zhou Enlai]: “Comrade, you caused me hardship such as this [meaning Zhou's role in the division of Vietnam at Geneva in 1954]. Did you know that, comrade?”

Zhou Enlai said: “I apologize before you, comrade. I was wrong. I was wrong about that [meaning the division of Vietnam at Geneva].” After Nixon had already gone to China, he [Zhou Enlai] once again came to Vietnam in order to ask me about a number of problems concerning the fighting in southern Vietnam.
However, I immediately told Zhou Enlai: “Nixon has met with you already, comrade. Soon they [the US] will attack me even harder.” I am not at all afraid. Both sides [the US and China] had negotiated with each other in order to fight me harder. He [Zhou Enlai] did not as yet reject this [view] as unfounded, and only said that “I will send additional guns and ammunition to you comrades.”

Then he [Zhou Enlai] said [concerning fears of a secret US-Chinese plot]: “There was no such thing.” However, the two had discussed how to hit us harder, including B-52 bombing raids and the blocking of Haiphong [harbor]. This was clearly the case.

 If the Soviet Union and China had not been at odds with each other, then the US could not have struck us as fiercely as they did. As the two [powers of China and the Soviet Union] were in conflict, the Americans were unhampered [by united socialist bloc opposition]. Although Vietnam was able to have unity and solidarity both with China and the USSR, to achieve this was very complicated, for at that time we had to rely on China for many things. At that time, China annually provided assistance of 500,000 tons of foodstuffs, as well as guns, ammunition, money, not to mention dollar aid. The Soviet Union also helped in this way. If we could not do that [preserve unity and solidarity with China and the USSR], things would have been very dangerous. Every year I had to go to China twice to talk with them [the Chinese leadership] about [the course of events] in southern Vietnam. As for the Soviets, I did not say anything at all [about the situation in southern Vietnam]. I only spoke in general terms. When dealing with the Chinese, I had to say that both were fighting the US. Alone I went. I had to attend to this matter. I had to go there and talk with them many times in this way, with the main intention to build closer relations between the two sides [meaning Chinese and Vietnamese]. It was precisely at this time that China pressured us to move away from the USSR, forbidding us from going with the USSR’s [side] any longer.

They made it very tense. Deng Xiaoping, together with Kang Sheng, came and told me: “Comrade, I will assist you with several billion [presumably yuan] every year. You cannot accept anything from the Soviet Union.”

I could not allow this. I said:
“No, we must have solidarity and unity with the whole [socialist] camp.”

In 1963, when Khrushchev erred, [the Chinese] immediately issued a 25-point declaration and invited our Party to come and give our opinion. Brother Truong Chinh and I went together with a number of other brothers. In discussions, they [the Chinese] listened to us for ten or so points, but when it came to the point of “there is no abandonment of the socialist camp,” they did not listen…Deng Xiaoping said, “I am in charge of my own document. I seek your opinion but I do not accept this point of yours.”

Before we were to leave, Mao met with Brother Truong Chinh and myself. Mao sat down to chat with us, and in the end he announced: “Comrades, I would like you to know this. I will be president of 500 million land-hungry peasants, and I will bring an army to strike downwards into Southeast Asia.” Also seated there, Deng Xiaoping added: “It is mainly because the poor peasants are in such dire straits!”

Once we were outside, I told Brother Truong Chinh: “There you have it, the plot to take our country and Southeast Asia. It is clear now.” They dared to announce it in such a way. They thought we would not understand. It is true that not a minute goes by that they do not think of fighting Vietnam!

I will say more to you comrades so that you may see more of the military importance of this matter. Mao asked me:

In Laos, how many square kilometers [of land] are there?

I answered:
About 200,000 [sq. km.].

What is its population? [Mao asked]:

[I answered]: Around 3 million!

[Mao responded:] That’s not very much! I’ll bring my people there, indeed!

[Mao asked:] How many square kilometers [of land] are there in Thailand?.

[I responded]: About 500,000 [sq. km.].

And how many people? [Mao asked].

About 40 million! [I answered].

My God! [Mao said], Szechwan province of China has 500,000 sq. km., but has 90 million people. I’ll take some more of my people there, too [to Thailand]!

As for Vietnam, they did not dare to speak about moving in people this way. However, he [Mao] told me: “Comrade, isn’t it true that your people have fought and defeated the Yuan army?” I said: “Correct.” “Isn’t it also true, comrade, that you defeated the Qing army?” I said: “Correct.” He said: “And the Ming army as well?” I said: “Yes, and you too. I have beaten you as well. Did you know that?” I spoke with Mao Zedong in that way. He said: “Yes, yes!” He wanted to take Laos, all of Thailand – as well as wanting to take all of Southeast Asia. Bringing people to live there. It was complicated [to that point].

In the past [referring to possible problems stemming from the Chinese threat during these times], we had made intense preparations; it is not that we were unprepared. If we had not made preparations, the recent situation would have been very dangerous. It was not a simple matter. Ten years ago, I summoned together our brothers in the military to meet with me. I told them that the Soviet Union and the US were at odds with each other. As for China, they had joined hands with the US imperialists. In this tense situation, you must study this problem immediately. I was afraid that the military did not understand me, so I told them that there was no other way to understand the matter. But they found it very difficult to understand. It was not easy at all. But I could not speak in any other way. And I did not allow others to grab me.

When I went to the Soviet Union, the Soviets were also tough with me about China. The Soviet Union had convened a conference of 80 [communist] Parties in support of Vietnam, but Vietnam did not attend this conference, for [this gathering] was not simply aimed at helping Vietnam, but it was also designed to condemn China. Thus Vietnam did not go. The Soviets said: “Have you now abandoned internationalism [or] what? Why have you done this?” I said: “I have not abandoned internationalism at all. I have never done this. However, to be internationalist, the Americans must be defeated first. And if one wants to defeat the Americans, then there must be unity and solidarity with China. If I had gone to this conference, then the Chinese would have created very severe difficulties for us. Comrades, please understand me.”

In China there were also many different and contending opinions. Zhou Enlai agreed on forming a front with the Soviet Union in order to oppose the Americans. Once, when I went to the USSR to participate in a national day celebration, I was able to read a Chinese cable sent to the Soviet Union saying that “whenever someone attacks the USSR, then the Chinese will stand by your side.” [This was] because there was a treaty of friendship between the USSR and China dating from earlier times [February 1950]. Sitting next to Zhou Enlai, I asked him: “In this cable recently sent to the USSR, you have agreed, comrade, to establish a front with the Soviet Union, but why won’t you form a front to oppose the US?” Zhou Enlai said: “We can. I share that view. Comrades, I will form a front with you [on Vietnam].” Peng Zhen, who was also seated there, added: “This opinion is extremely correct!” But when the matter was discussed in Shanghai, Mao said it was not possible, cancel it. You see how complicated it was.

Although Zhou Enlai held a number of those opinions, he nonetheless agreed on building a front and [he] helped Vietnam a lot. It was thanks to him that I could understand [much of what was going on in China]. Otherwise it would have been very dangerous. He once told me: “I am doing my best to survive here, to use Li Chiang to accumulate and provide assistance for you, comrades.” And that there was [meaning that Zhou was able to use Li Chiang in order to help the Vietnamese]. My understanding is that without Zhou Enlai this would not have been possible at all. I am indebted to him.

However, it is not correct to say that other Chinese leaders shared Zhou Enlai’s view at all. They differed in many ways. It must be said that the most uncompromising person, the one with the Greater Han mentality, and the one who wanted to take Southeast Asia, was mainly Mao. All of [China's] policies were in his hands.

The same applies to the current leaders of China. We do not know how things will turn out in the future, however, [the fact of the matter is that] they have already attacked us. In the past, Deng Xiaoping did two things which have now been reversed. That is, when we won in southern Vietnam, there were many [leaders] in China who were unhappy. However, Deng Xiaoping nonetheless congratulated us. As a result of this, he was immediately considered a revisionist by the others.

When I went to China for the last time, I was the leader of the delegation, and I met with the Chinese delegation led by Deng Xiaoping. In speaking of territorial problems, including discussion of several islands, I said: “Our two nations are near each other. There are several areas of our territory which have not been clearly defined. Both sides should establish bodies to consider the matter. Comrades, please agree with me [on this]. He [Deng] agreed, but after doing so he was immediately considered a revisionist by the other group of leaders.

But now he [Deng] is crazy. Because he wants to show that he is not a revisionist, therefore he has struck Vietnam even harder. He let them go ahead in attacking Vietnam. After defeating the Americans we kept in place over one million troops, leading Soviet comrades to ask us: “Comrades, whom do you intend to fight that you keep such a large [standing] army?” I said: “Later, comrades, you will understand.” The only reason we had kept such a standing army was because of China['s threat to Vietnam]. If there had not been [such a threat], then this [large standing army] would have been unnecessary. Having been attacked recently on two fronts, [we can see that] it would have been very dangerous if we had not maintained a large army.

(B) [The meaning of this "B" in the original text is unclear] – In the wake of WWII, everyone held the international gendarme to be American imperialism. They could take over and bully all of the world. Everyone, including the big powers, were afraid of the US. It was only Vietnam that was not afraid of the US.

I understand this matter for my line of work has taught me it. The first person to fear [the Americans] was Mao Zedong. He told me, that is, the Vietnamese and Lao, that: “You must immediately turn over the two liberated provinces of Laos to the [Vientiane] [government]. If you do not do so, then the US will use it as a pretext to launch an attack. That is a great danger.” As for Vietnam, we said: “We have to fight the Americans in order to liberate southern Vietnam.” He [Mao] said: “You cannot do that. Southern Vietnam must lie in wait for a long period, for one lifetime, 5-10 or even 20 lifetimes from now. You cannot fight the Americans. Fighting the US is dangerous”. Mao Zedong was scared of the US to that extent…

But Vietnam was not scared. Vietnam went ahead and fought. If Vietnam had not fought the US, then southern Vietnam would not have been liberated. A country which is not yet liberated will remain a dependent one. No one is independent if only one-half of the country is free. It was not until 1975 that our country finally achieved its full independence. With independence would come freedom. Freedom should be freedom for the whole of the Vietnamese nation…

Engels had already spoken on people’s war. Later the Soviet Union, China, and ourselves also spoke [on this matter]. However, these three countries differ a lot on the content [of people's war]. It is not true that just because you have millions of people you can do whatever you like. China also spoke on people’s war, however, [they held that] “when the enemy advances, we must retreat.” In other words, defense is the main feature, and war is divided into three stages with the countryside used to surround the cities, while [the main forces] remain in the forests and mountains only… The Chinese were on the defensive and very weak [during World War II]. Even with 400 million people pitted against a Japanese army of 300,000 to 400,000 troops, the Chinese still could not defeat them.

I have to repeat it like that, for before China had sent advisers to us [some of our Vietnamese] brothers did not understand. They thought the [Chinese] were very capable. But they are not so skilled, and thus we did not follow [the Chinese advice].

In 1952, I left northern Vietnam for China, because I was sick and needed treatment. This was my first time abroad. I put questions to them [the Chinese] and saw many very strange things. There were areas [which had been] occupied by Japanese troops, each with a population of 50 million people, but which had not [had] a single guerrilla fighter…

When I returned from China, I met Uncle [Ho]. He asked me:

This was your first time to go abroad, isn’t that right?

Yes, I went abroad for the first time.

What did you see?

I saw two things: Vietnam is very brave and they [the Chinese] are not brave at all.
I understood this from that day on. We [the Vietnamese] were entirely different from them. Courage is inherent in the Vietnamese person, and thus we have never had a defensive strategy. Every inhabitant fights.

Recently, they [the Chinese] have brought several hundred thousand troops in to invade our country. For the most part, we have used our militia and regional troops to attack them. We were not on the defensive, and thus they suffered a setback. They were not able to wipe out a single Vietnamese platoon, while we wiped out several of their regiments and several dozen of their battalions. That is so because of our offensive strategy.

The American imperialists fought us in a protracted war. They were so powerful, yet they lost. But there was a special element, that is the acute contradictions between the Chinese and the Soviets. [Because of this,] they have attacked us hard like this.

…Vietnam fought the Americans, and fought them very fiercely, but we know that the US was an extremely large country, more than capable of amassing 10 million troops and bringing all of its considerably powerful weapons in to fight us. Therefore we had to fight over a long period of time in order to bring them to de-escalation. We were the ones who could do this; the Chinese could not. When the American army attacked Quang Tri, the Politburo ordered troops to be brought in to fight at once. We were not afraid. After that I went to China to meet Zhou Enlai. He told me: “It [the attack in Quang Tri] is probably unparalleled, unique. In life there is only one [chance,] not two. No one has ever dared to do what you, comrades, have done.”

…Zhou Enlai was the Chief of the General Staff. He dared to speak, he was more frank. He told me: “If I had known before the ways which you comrades employ, we would not have needed the Long March.” What was the Long March for? At the beginning of the march there were 300,000 troops; and at the end of the Long March there were only 30,000 remaining. 270,000 people were lost. It was truly idiotic to have done it in this way – speak as such so that you, comrades, know how much we are ahead of them. In the near future, if we are to fight against China, we will certainly win… However, the truth is that if a different country [other than Vietnam] were to fight against China, it is not clear that they would win like this [like Vietnam].

…If China and the USSR had been united with each other, then it is not certain that the US would have dared to fight us. If the two had been united and joined together to help us, it is not certain that the US would have dared to have fought us in the way in which they did. They would have balked from the very beginning. They would have balked in the same way during the Kennedy period. Vietnam, China, and the USSR all helped Laos and the US immediately signed a treaty with Laos. They did not dare to send American troops to Laos, they let the Lao [People's Revolutionary] Party participate in the government right away. They did not dare to attack Laos any more.
Later, as the two countries [the USSR and China] were at odds with each other, the Americans were informed [by the Chinese] that they could go ahead and attack Vietnam without any fear. Don’t be afraid [of Chinese retaliation]. Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong told the Americans: “If you don’t attack me, then I won’t attack you. You can bring in as many troops into southern Vietnam as you like. It’s up to you.”

…We are [presently] bordering on a very strong nation, one with expansionist intentions which, if they are to be implemented, must start with an invasion of Vietnam. Thus, we have to shoulder yet another, different historical role. However, we have never shirked from our historical tasks. Previously, Vietnam did carry out its tasks, and this time Vietnam is determined not to allow them to expand. Vietnam preserves its own independence, and by doing so is also safeguarding the independence of Southeast Asian nations. Vietnam is resolved not to allow the Chinese to carry out their expansionist scheme. The recent battle [with China] was one round only. Presently, they are still making preparations in many fields. However, whatever the level of their preparations, Vietnam will still win…

Waging war is no leisurely walk in the woods. Sending one million troops to wage war against a foreign country involves countless difficulties. Just recently they brought in 500,000 to 600,000 troops to fight us, yet they had no adequate transport equipment to supply food to their troops. China is presently preparing 3.5 million troops, but they have to leave half of them on the [Sino-Soviet] border to deter the Soviets. For that reason, if they bring 1 or 2 million troops in to fight us, we will not be afraid of anything. We have just engaged 600,000 troops, and, if, in the near future, we have to fight 2 million, it will not be a problem at all. We are not afraid.

We are not afraid because we already know the way to fight. If they bring in 1 million troops, they will only gain a foothold in the north. Descending into the mid-lands, the deltas, and into Hanoi and even further downwards would be difficult. Comrades, as you know, Hitler’s clique struck fiercely in this way, yet when they [the German Nazis] arrived in Leningrad they could not enter. With the cities, the people, and defense works, it is impossible to carry out effective attacks against each and every inhabitant. Even fighting for two, three, or four years they will still not be able to enter. Every village there [in the north] is like this. Our guidelines are: Each district is a fortress, each province a battlefield. We will fight and they will not be able to enter at all.

However, it is never enough just to fight an enemy at the frontline. One must have a strong direct rearguard. After the recent fighting ended, we assessed that, in the near future, we must add several million more people to the northern front. But as the enemy comes from the north, the direct rear for the whole country must be Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh… The direct rear to protect the capital must be Thanh Hoa and Nghe Tinh. We have enough people. We can fight them in many ways… We can use 2 to 3 army corps to inflict a strong blow on them that will make them stagger, while we continue to hold our land. To this end, each soldier must be a real soldier and each squad a real squad.

- Having now fought one battle already, we should not be subjective. Subjectivism and underestimation of the enemy are incorrect, but a lack of self-confidence is also wrong. We are not subjective, we do not underestimate the enemy. But we are also confident and firmly believe in our victory. We should have both these things.

- The Chinese now have a plot to attack [us] in order to expand southwards. But in the present era nothing can be done and then wrapped up tidily. China has just fought Vietnam for a few days, yet the whole world has shouted: ["]Leave Vietnam alone!["] The present era is not like the olden times. In those days, it was only us and them [meaning the Chinese]. Now the whole world is fastened closely together. The human species has not yet entered the socialist phase at all; instead this is a time where everyone wants independence and freedom. [Even] on small islands, people want independence and freedom. All of humankind is presently like this. That is very different than it was in olden times. In those days, people were not yet very aware of these things. Thus the sentence of Uncle Hò: “There is nothing more precious than independence and freedom” is an idea of the present era. To lay hands on Vietnam is to lay hands on humanity and infringe on independence and freedom… Vietnam is a nation that symbolizes independence and freedom.

- When it came to fighting the US, our brothers in the Politburo had to discuss together this matter to consider whether we dared to fight the US or not. All were agreed to fight. The Politburo expressed its resolve: In order to fight the Americans, we must not fear the USA. All were of the same mind. As all agreed to fight the US, to have no fear of the USA, we must also not fear the USSR. All agreed. We must also not fear China. All agreed. If we don’t fear these three things, we can fight the US. This was how we did things in our Politburo at that time.
Although the Politburo met and held discussions like this and everyone was of the same mind, there was later one person who told a comrade what I said. That comrade rose to question the Politburo, asking for what reason does Anh Ba once again say that if we want to fight the Americans then we should not fear the Chinese? Why does he have to put it this way again?

At that time, Brother Nguyen Chi Thanh, who thus far was suspected of being sympathetic to the Chinese, stood up and said: “Respected Politburo and respected Uncle Ho, the statement of Anh Ba was correct. It must be said that way [referring to the need not to fear the Chinese], for they [the Chinese] give us trouble on many matters. They blocked us here, then forced our hands there. They do not let us fight…”

While we were fighting in southern Vietnam, Deng Xiaoping stipulated that I (toi) could only fight at the level of one platoon downward, and must not fight at a higher level. He [Deng Xiaoping] said: “In the south, since you have made the mistake of starting the fighting already, you should only fight at the level of one platoon downward, not at a higher level.” That is how they brought pressure to bear on us.

- We are not afraid of anyone. We are not afraid because we are in the right. We do not fear even our elder brother. We also do not fear our friends. Of course, we do not fear our enemies. We have fought them already. We are human beings; we are not afraid of anyone. We are independent. All the world knows we are independent.

We must have a strong army, because our nation is under threat and being bullied… It cannot be otherwise. If not, then it will be extremely dangerous, but our country is poor.

- We have a strong army, but that does not in any way weaken us. The Chinese have several policies towards us: To invade and to occupy our country; to seek to weaken us economically and to make our living condi- tions difficult. For these reasons, in opposing China we must, first of all, not only fight, but also make ourselves stronger. To this end, in my view, our army should not be a force that wastes the resources of the state, but should also be a strong productive force. When the enemies come, they [the soldiers] grab their guns at once. When no enemy is coming, then they will produce grandly. They will be the best and highest symbol in production, producing more than anyone else. Of course, that is not a new story…

- At present, our army shoulders an historical task: to defend our independence and freedom, while simultaneously protecting the peace and independence of the whole world. If the expansionist policy of the reactionary Chinese clique cannot be implemented any longer, that would be in the interest of the whole world. Vietnam can do this. Vietnam has 50 million people already. Vietnam has Lao and Cambodian friends and has secure terrain. Vietnam has our camp and all of mankind on its side. It is clear that we can do this.

…Do our comrades know of anyone in our Party, among our people, who suspects that we will lose to China? No one, of course. But we must maintain our friendly relations. We do not want national hatred. I repeat: I say this because I have never felt hatred for China. I do not feel this way. It is they who fight us. Today I also want you comrades to know that in this world, the one who has defended China is myself! That is true. Why so? Because during the June 1960 conference in Bucharest, 60 Parties rose to oppose China, but it was only I who defended China. Our Vietnamese people is like that. I will go ahead and repeat this: However badly they behave, we know that their people are our friends. As for our side, we have no evil feelings towards China. Yet the plot of several [Chinese] leaders is a different matter. We refer to them as a clique only. We do not refer to their nation. We did not say the Chinese people are bad towards us. We say that it is the reactionary Beijing clique. I again say it strictly like this.

Thus, let us keep the situation under firm control, remain ready for combat, and never relax in our vigilance. It is the same with respect to China. I am confident that in 50 years, or even in 100 years, socialism may succeed; and then we will not have this problem any longer. But it will take such a [long] time. Therefore, we must prepare and stand ready in all respects.

At present, no one certainly has doubts any more. But five years ago I was sure there [were no] comrades who doubted] that China could strike us. But there were. That as the case because [these] comrades had no knowledge about this matter. But that was not the case with us [Le Duan and the leadership]. We knew that China had been attacking us for some ten years or more. Therefore we were not surprised [by the January 1979 Chinese attack].

Comrade B; Le Duan is the top leader of Vietnam at the time of this secret speech in 1979 after the invasion of China defeated.
His speech focused on Vietnam view, think and response to China leader policies stretched from 1950s to 1979.

As a part of Vietnam war history, Comrade B explains how China act to Vietnam, Soviet Union and Vietnam responses during 1950-1979

Posted by: @dadadas

@dumatkn not all of Le Duan's words are trustworthy. He wants to make himself look smart but i think Vietnam could have found a way to appease China. Its true that Mao had a dream of turning SEA into China's backyard but then came Deng & his successors who wanted good relations with the West. Now we have Xi Jinping who was confident enough that no Western power would decouple from China and went full blown expansionist. But the day where China flew a spy balloon to Uncle Sam's land is the day where China became the new Soviet Union during Cuban Missiles Crisis. China is now an enemy to the US.

Posted by: @dumatkn

@dadadas I just like how it's basically an essay shitting on chinese Idea le duan realized sooner than others that chinese are untrustworthy

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The Chinks when they saw Soviets as a threat and wanted economic developement, they prioritized having good relations with US & the West. But now they want to project power into Western Pacific and acquire underlings.

In the long term game of geopolitics, having one client state in a region is the first step for turning the whole region into your backyard. 1979 happened because we did not accept being the Chinks' underlings so that they can project power into SEA and we Viets destroyed Chinks' most loyal underlings in SEA - Khmer Rouge.

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Posted by: @dumatkn

So they backstabbed the soviets, vietnam and the entirety of the comintern, the very political ideology of their nation to side with the US + friends -and would later backstab the US, japan, EU, UN, NATO in rhe present day who opened their economy to the world and shared business models and even military equipment. China and chinese are a people who will always betray you as proven by history. It's not just their culture but in their genes and DNA to stab your back and naturally lie.

Here is an article of US assisstance to China during the 80s.

CONCLUSIONS

Chinese interest in American arms, as in other international transactions, is primarily a function of supply and demand. Chinese demand for modern weapons, in turn, is a function of many factors. Although Moscow has been circumspect in not directly threatening Beijing in a military sense, the increasing size and sophistication of its armed camp in the East is such that there is no way Beijing can feel secure about its present military capabilities without Western assistance. The fact that this threat does not appear imminent, that the PLA is undergoing a major reorganization and force level drawdown, that foreign exchange is scarce, and that China takes the long view of history, all support the judgment that growing yet moderate arms transfers can be expected to characterize the Chinese-American relationship for at least the remainder of the decade.

The United States remains the nation most capable ofsupplying Chinese defense needs. U.S. technological expertise, production skills, systems management, and weapons support programs all excel. China does have other alternatives, particularly in Western Europe, for assistance in many of its military programs. Nevertheless, U.S. arms transfers are seen to mesh well with Chinese needs now and in the near future. Moderate and gradually increasing purchases, marked by continued window shopping, great concern for self-reliance, and a preference for technology rather than massive quantities of arms, all support U.S. interests in a modernizing but nonthreatening Chinese military force in the 1990s.

Where all this may lead in the 21st Century becomes quite speculative. As Chinese ability to absorb modern technology increases, as the modernization already underway produces anticipated success, and as Sino-American military relations develop further momentum, there is every possibility that Sino-American arms transfers could expand. If, on the other hand, Soviet forces opposite China were to decline dramatically, Soviet meddling in Afghanistan and Indochina to cease, and no other threats to Chinese national security to arise, then there is a likelihood that Chinese demand for U.S. arms would decline. Any erratic or power projection activities on the part of the Middle Kingdom would be likely to tighten U.S. export restraints, if not lead to the cessation of exports altogether. But again, such hypothetical situations are mere speculation at this point.

As far as the eye can see in 1986, it appears that China is attempting to modernize its military forces in a moderate and measured fashion, in order to meet very real national security needs. Under these circumstances it is particularly important not only that China succeed, but also that it succeed with American assistance.

https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA497047.pdf

It was only after Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 that the Yanks stop assissting the Chinks.

Following the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Bush Sr. administration imposed an arms embargo against the PRC after the massacre of the protesters.

...

The United States Congress and media criticized the military action. President George H. W. Bush suspended visits to that country. Large scale protests against the Chinese government took place around the country. George Washington University revealed that, through high-level secret channels on 30 June 1989, the US government conveyed to the government of the People's Republic of China that the events around the Tiananmen Square protests were an "internal affair". U.S. public opinion of China dropped significantly after the Tiananmen Square protests, from 72% having favorable opinions of China before the Tiananmen Protests to only 34% in August 1989

It was only after the 3rd Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1995 that the Chinks began to buy arms from Russia who no longer pose a military threat to the Chinks like the Soviet Union was

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