China and the Vietnam Wars, 1950-1975

China and the Vietnam Wars, 1950-1975

by Qiang Zhai

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In the quarter century after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Beijing assisted Vietnam in its struggle against two formidable foes, France and the United States. Indeed, the rise and fall of this alliance is one of the most crucial developments in the history of the Cold War in Asia. Drawing on newly released Chinese archival sources, memoirs and diaries, and documentary collections, Qiang Zhai offers the first comprehensive exploration of Beijing's Indochina policy and the historical, domestic, and international contexts within which it developed.

In examining China's conduct toward Vietnam, Zhai provides important insights into Mao Zedong's foreign policy and the ideological and geopolitical motives behind it. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, he shows, Mao considered the United States the primary threat to the security of the recent Communist victory in China and therefore saw support for Ho Chi Minh as a good way to weaken American influence in Southeast Asia. In the late 1960s and 1970s, however, when Mao perceived a greater threat from the Soviet Union, he began to adjust his policies and encourage the North Vietnamese to accept a peace agreement with the United States.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807876190
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 10/21/2005
Series: The New Cold War History
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Qiang Zhai is professor of history at Auburn University Montgomery in Alabama.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Recognition and Assistance, 1950-1953
Chapter 2. From Dien Bien Phu to Geneva, 1953-1954
Chapter 3. Consolidation and Unification, 1954-1961
Chapter 4. The Geneva Conference on Laos, 1961-1962
Chapter 5. Deeper Entanglement, 1961-1964
Chapter 6. Confronting U.S. Escalation, 1964-1965
Chapter 7. Vietnam Peace Talks, 1965-1968
Chapter 8. From Tet to Cambodia, 1968-1970
Chapter 9. Sino-U.S. Rapprochement and Vietnam, 1970-1975
Conclusion: The Duality of China's Policy


North Vietnam in 1950


Luo Guibo
Luo Guibo poses with Vietnamese Communist leaders
Luo Guibo and his wife, Li Hanzhen, with Ho Chi Minh and other Vietnamese Communist officials
Vo Nguyen Giap greets Luo Guibo
Luo Guibo inspects a Vietnamese factory
Luo Guibo poses with Vietnamese factory workers
Luo Guibo and other Chinese advisers in Vietnam
Prince Norodom Sihanouk accompanies Premier Zhou Enlai during his visit to Cambodia
Mao and Ho Chi Minh at Beijing airport
Mao hosts a banquet in honor of Ho Chi Minh during Ho's visit to China
Zhou Enlai and Ho Chi Minh at Beijing airport
The Chinese delegation at the Geneva Conference on Laos
Chen Yi meets with Prime Minister Souvanna Phouma and Prince Souphanouvong
Mao meets with Nguyen Thi Binh
Mao greets Le Duan
Zhou Enlai greets Sihanouk at Beijing airport


Table 1. China's Military Aid to the DRV, 1964-1975

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Zhai's engaging study of China's involvement in Vietnam during the time of America's longest war is packed with new information, much of it gleaned from recently opened Chinese sources.—Political Science Quarterly

Drawing upon a wealth of new Chinese sources, Qiang Zhai has produced the most authoritative and balanced assessment to date of the complex Sino-Vietnamese relationship. His strikingly original book should prove indispensable to all students of the Vietnam War, modern Chinese foreign relations, and the Cold War in Asia.—Robert J. McMahon, University of Florida

A valuable contribution, not only to the Vietnam saga, but also to an understanding of the Cold War and U.S. policies during that time.—International Law and Politics

An engaging account of the thoughts and actions of the decision makers on both sides of the Sino-Vietnamese connection, the book constitutes a fresh and important contribution to the historiography during a crucial period of China's foreign policy.—American Journal of Chinese Studies

The key role of Mao's China in arming and guiding the thirty-year struggle has only now been clarified by the researches of Qiang Zhai. . . . Zhai makes . . . many illuminating disclosures.—London Review of Books

Sweeping in scope and rich in detail, [this] book provides the most authoritative account yet published of Chinese policymaking and the ever-changing relationship between Beijing and Hanoi during the period of U.S. entanglement in Vietnam. . . . Anyone interested in Chinese foreign policy, the international history of the Cold War, and the Vietnam wars will be deeply in Zhai's debt.—Journal of Cold War Studies

Qiang Zhai's book is a must for those working within the field of Cold War history, but the subject should also stir interest among scholars in other fields. The book is well written and gives valuable insights into a so far hidden story.—Journal of Peace Research

A must for those working within the field of Cold War history.—Journal of Peace Research

Zhai's survey of Sino-Vietnamese relations makes an important contribution. . . . A significant, informative, and engaging new book in Cold War international history.—American Historical Review

[A] thorough and detailed study. . . . Zhai skillfully illustrates how a nation's self-interest is at the heart of its foreign policy.—Choice




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