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Barbarians in the south: China's Vietnam policy, 1966-73

Connolly, Christopher Anthony (2007) Barbarians in the south: China's Vietnam policy, 1966-73. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

This thesis examines the policy of the People's Republic of China to the Second Indochina (or Vietnam) War. It looks at how Mao Zedong's perception of the United States' escalation of the conflict in Vietnam influenced both China's diplomatic and military response, and also Mao's own domestic campaign to transform Chinese society in the form of the Cultural Revolution. In the 1960s China sought to avoid war with the U.S. for both ideological and security reasons, yet offered large-scale support for Hanoi's war effort. China's military support fell as the prospect of a war with the Soviet Union loomed, and rebounded in the early 1970s when the threat had receded. Sino-Vietnamese discord in this period has been over-emphasised, for throughout the duration of the Vietnam War intimate co-operation characterised the relationship. The key change in Sino-Vietnamese relations came not from Hanoi's decision to enter into negotiations with the U.S., but in the wake of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, for which Hanoi exhibited fulsome support. From this point on differing Chinese and North Vietnamese interests in the occupant of the White House set Hanoi's and Beijing's tactics on divergent paths. This does not mean, however, that Beijing reduced its support for Hanoi's war effort as a result of Sino-American rapprochement. Henry Kissinger continually misinterpreted Chinese strategy and statements on the topic of Vietnam, and failed to understand the Chinese paternalism that underpinned much of Beijing's policy. Mao remained determined to see a complete American withdrawal from Indochina and substantially increased its military and economic aid. When an apparent stalemate was arrived at in mid-1972, only then did China intervene to counsel moderation and compromise at the negotiating table, hoping to have the war ended before Richard Nixon began his second term in office.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2007 Christopher Anthony Connolly
Library of Congress subject classification: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
Sets: Departments > International History
Supervisor: Westad, Odd Arne
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/3987

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