Vietnam versus China – 207 BC to Today

Compared to China, the few years the U.S. fought in Vietnam is insignificant, and based on history, the United States learned its lesson to get out in a much shorter time span than it took China. And the French learned this lesson in a much shorter time span between 1946 and 1954.

China’s most recent conflict with Vietnam started on February 15, 1979, when China invaded Vietnam to teach it a lesson.

Why did China do this? Well, after the death of Stalin, relations between the Soviet Union and China turned sour while the Russians and the Vietnamese developed a closer relationship.

To counter this perceived threat, China encouraged Cambodia to take aggressive action against Vietnam. Near the end of 1978, the Cambodians under the leadership of Pol Pot launched a series of attacks along the Vietnam border.

The Vietnamese retaliated with armored units and captured the capital of Cambodia on January 7, 1979.

Since ten-thousand Chinese military advisers in Cambodia became prisoners, China lost face, and invaded Vietnam to “teach it a lesson”.

The Vietnamese decided to hold back their regular army and defend the border with militia units using guerilla tactics in the hills and rainforest similar to how they fought America, the French and China in the past.

China took heavy casualties after attacking and soon pulled its troops out 3 weeks and 6 days after crossing the border.  Both sides declared victory. Border clashes between Vietnam and China would continue until 1990.

One would think that China would have learned its lesson long ago, because China has a long and bloody history with Vietnam. The first Chinese invasion and occupation of Vietnam took place in 207 BC to 39 AD. The second occupation was from 43 to 544 AD.  The third was from 602 to 905 AD.  The fourth event was between 1407 to 1427 AD. During this long history of invasions and occupations by China, the Vietnamese rebelled repeatedly to drive the Chinese out and regain their independence as a country.

France ruled over Vietnam from 1862 until the Japanese invaded during World War II. The French would return in 1946 and fight the Vietnamese until 1954.

The US and Vietnam, once enemies during the American-Vietnam War (1961 – 1975), are now allied to block China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.  – Goldsea Asian American News

I seriously think many leaders do not study history to avoid repeating the same mistakes made by others before them.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline

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