China announced on Monday (March 5) that it was withdrawing its troops from Vietnam. A?
China announced on Monday (March 5) that it was withdrawing its troops from Vietnam. A statement issued through the New China News Agency said the goals the troops were set when they invaded Vietnam more than two weeks ago had been accomplished.
SYNOPSIS: Military experts had estimated that up to two hundred thousand Chinese troops have been involved in the conflict. According to Reuters news agency, the climax of the Chinese incursion was the battle for the strategic provincial capital of Lang Son. It is believed the town fell to the Chinese on Saturday (March 3) after heavy fighting against forces the Chinese called elite Vietnamese troops. Reuters, quoting diplomatic sources, say the Chinese troops moved into the town under artillery protection, after clearing Vietnamese from the surrounding hills.
Lang Son, a few miles from the Chinese border, lies on the main rail and road links to Hanoi, and it is just south of the Friendship Pass the traditional invasion route from China to Vietnam.
A Chinese statement that they had taught the Vietnamese a lesson is believed by observers to be a reference to the battle for Lang Son.
Vietnam has said its troops had inflicted casualties totalling about forty-two thousand on Chinese forces in two weeks of fighting. Refugees have been leaving the battle zone around Lang Son, where, according to Radio Hanoi, on Friday (2 March) Chinese troops suffered heavy losses. Unlike other more recent reports, there was no detailed account of this fighting, but analysts say the Vietnamese claims are considered to be exaggerated.
Also on Monday (March 5), Vietnamese leaders ordered a general mobilisation. Hanoi radio said it was to fight and defeat the Chinese aggressors. It was not clear whether the decision had been made before or after China announced it was withdrawing its forces from Vietnam. On Sunday (March 3), Vietnam's Communist party appealed for military training to be increased and production boosted so that more supplies could be sent to troops. Until the announcement of the general mobilisation, the call for military training was the strongest appeal made since the fighting started.
Despite the fact that China has ordered its troops to pull out of Vietnam, some diplomats in Peking are said to doubt whether peace will come to the rugged border country.