Vietnam in a broadcast from Hanoi Radio, claims to have inflicted heavy casualties on the Chinese troops which crossed the border between them on Saturday (17 February).
Vietnam in a broadcast from Hanoi Radio, claims to have inflicted heavy casualties on the Chinese troops which crossed the border between them on Saturday (17 February). China has described the attack on Vietnam as "punitive", and said it was forced to take action because of repeated Vietnamese attacks on its territory. articles in the People's Daily, the Chinese Communist Party newspaper, have indicated that, as soon as the Chinese troops have carried out their mission, they will be withdrawn. The Soviet Union has called for an immediate withdrawal of the Chinese troops. And official statement published in Moscow said the Soviet Union would honour its obligations under its friendship treaty with Vietnam.
SYNOPSIS: The border between China and Vietnam, almost a year ago: thousands of Chinese were then making their way out of Vietnam. This was the result of what the Chinese government called a savage campaign of persecution of people of Chinese origin living in Vietnam. Its origins were basically economic; the Chinese had been traders who did not fit into the new Vietnamese society. But it contributed to the growing hostility between Vietnam and her big northern neighbour.
Then early this year, came the overthrow of Pol Pot's regime in Kampuchea (Cambodia). China, which supported Pol Pot, said that Vietnamese troops had invaded Kampuchea and installed the new revolutionary government Vietnam claimed that this was done by guerrilla forces of the Kampuchean National Salvation Front.
The Kampuchean government signed a friendship from treaty with Vietnam of Sunday (18 February) and denounced the Chinese invasion of Vietnam This new alliance has virtually shut China out altogether from any direct influence in Indo-China.
Hanoi's close relations with the Soviet Union were cemented in Moscow last November, when Mr Brezhnev and the Vietnamese Communist Party leader Le Duan, signed their friendship Treaty. This is the one which Moscow has now invoked in calling on the Chinese to withdraw.
The concern in other world capitals is lest this latest dispute between Moscow and Peking should touch off a more direct confrontation between the two big Communist powers. A decade ago, at the time of the Cultural Revolution in China, there were repeated local clashes at the eastern end of their long common border.
This sensitive area, along the Ussuri River, has seen many such incidents, localised but vicious. Early in 1969, Chinese fishermen attacked a Soviet patrol boat on the river. The Soviet sailors responded with high-pressure hoses. It was little more than a skirmish but symptomatic of the tension that has flared up from time to ti,e and might always do so in an areas where both sides keep large numbers of men in a high state of readiness.
China says that it was driven to take action against Vietnam by repeated border incidents which, it claims, have cost the lies of more than three hundred people in the past six months. n one such incident, two weeks ago, the Chinese sway two men working in their field were shot and killed by Vietnamese who crossed the border. The Chinese Army newspaper has now said that, as soon as peace and stability are restored along the border, the invasion will come to an end.