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13. Hongqi (Red Flag) is the official journal of the CCP
Qiang Zhai teaches history at Auburn University at Montgomery (Alabama) and is the author of The Dragon, the Lion, and the Eagle: Chinese-British-American Relations, 1949-1958 (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1994).
try in fact. The proletarian dictatorship will last to July 1964, our Party used the name of
lic of China was adopted by the Sixth Plenum of the
Eleventh Central Committee in June 1981. While attention and conducted no struggle, China
affirming the historical role of Mao Zedong, the resoluwould become a fascist dictatorship in either tion also blames him for the Cultural Revolution. After a few or a dozen years at the earliest or in an analysis of all the crimes and errors in the Cultural several decades at the latest. This address
Revolution the resolution describes it as, after all, “the
error of a proletarian revolutionary.” It concludes that was not published openly. It was circulated
although Mao has made “gross mistakes” during the internally. We wanted to watch subsequent Cultural Revolution, “if we judge his activities as a developments to see whether any words in whole, his contribution to the Chinese revolution far
outweighs his mistakes." For the text of the resolution, the speech required revision. But at that time
see Resolution on CPC History (1949-1981) (Beijing: we already detected the problem.”
Foreign Languages Press, 1981).
with the Soviet Union in 1949-1950. It was first pub
lished in Chinese Historians 5 (Spring 1992), 57-62, man Mao reemphasized class struggle in
and later in Thomas G. Paterson and Dennis Merrill, order to prevent the emergence of revision- eds., Major Problems in American Foreign Relations: ism. On August 9, he clearly pointed out the Volume II: Since 1914, 4th ed. (Lexington, MA: D.C.
Heath, 1995), 332-34. necessity of educating cadres and training
3. Bo does not mention precisely when and where them in rotation. Otherwise, he feared that
Dulles made those remarks about Chinese communism. he had devoted his whole life to revolution,
I have not been able to identify Dulles's speech to which only to produce capitalism and revisionism. Bo is referring On September 24, he again urged the party to
4. The “Three Red Flags" refer to the General Line of
Socialism, the Great Leap Forward, and the People's heighten vigilance to prevent the country
Commune. from going "the opposite direction." The 5. Jinman (Quemoy). communiqué of the Tenth Plenum published 6. These refer to the economic cooperation regions on September 27 reiterated the gist of Chair
established during the Great Leap Forward. China was
divided into seven such regions. man Mao's remarks and stressed that
7. Cankao ziliao (Reference Material) is an internally “whether at present or in the future, our Party circulated reading material, which provided Party leadmust always heighten its vigilance and cor- ers with translations and summaries of international rectly carry out the struggle on two fronts:
news from foreign news agencies and press.
8. According to the U.S records of the Camp David against both revisionism and dogmatism."
talks, in his discussions with President Eisenhower, From the end of 1962 to the spring of Khrushchev actually defended China's position on 1963, our Party published seven articles in Taiwan. See memorandum of conversation between succession, condemning such so-called "con
Eisenhower and Khrushchev, 26 and 27 September
1959, in Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958temporary revisionists" as Togliatti of Italy, 18
1960, Vol. X, Part I: Eastern Europe Region; Soviet Thorez of France, 19 and the American Com- Union; Cyprus (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government munist Party. On June 14, 1963, the CCP Printing Office, 1993), 477-482. Central Committee issued "A Proposal for a
9. Peng Dehuai, Defense Minister and a Politburo
member. General Line of the International Commu
10. Peng Zhen, Party Secretary of Beijing and a nist Movement." On July 14, the Central Politburo member. Committee of the Communist Party of the 11. Wang Jiaxiang, Director of the CCP International Soviet Union (CPSU) published “An Open
Liaison Department and a Secretary of the CCP Central
Committee Secretariat. Letter to Party Units at All Levels and to All
12. Hu Qiaomu, Mao's political secretary and an AlterMembers of the CPSU,” bringing the Sino- nate Secretary of the CCP Central Committee SecreSoviet dispute to the open. From September tariat.
THE VIETNAM WAR AND SOVIET- his research into a far broader study of Soviet DRV and PRC. All those interconnected AMERICAN RELATIONS, 1964-1973: involvement in the Vietnam conflict, utiliz- relations crucially influenced the relevant NEW RUSSIAN EVIDENCE ing sources in both Russian and American Soviet policies.
archives (the latter during a CWIHP fellow- The escalation of the conflict in Vietby Ilya V. Gaiduk
ship for research in the United States); that nam after the Tonkin Gulf incident in Au
study, The Soviet Union and the Vietnam gust 1964 and the February 1965 attack by The Vietnam War stands out among War, is scheduled for publication by Ivan R. armed units of the National Front for the Cold War crises for its scale, length, inten- Dee (Chicago) in Spring 1996.
Liberation of South Vietnam (NFLSV, also sity, and global repercussions. The litera- The SCCD archives contain materials known as the NLF) on the base of American ture on the war and the American role in it related to a broad range of the former CPSU military advisers in Pleiku (triggering U.S. encompasses thousands of volumes, from CC's work, primarily correspondence with a aerial bombardment of North Vietnam in political memoirs to soldiers' eyewitness wide range of Soviet organizations and es- retaliation), coincided with a certain cooling accounts to historical and journalistic stud- tablishments dealing with various socio-eco- in Soviet-North Vietnamese relations. This ies, to novels and political science trea- nomic, domestic, and foreign policy issues. chill between Moscow and Hanoi, in turn, tises. With the passage of time, ever more The archive collections (fondy) include a documents have been declassified, enabling considerable number of documents on the more thorough and comprehensive analy- subject of the Vietnam War and Soviet
This section of the Bulletin presents ses. Now that there is substantial access to American relations which were sent to the
new evidence from Russian, Chinese, and archives in the former USSR, researchers CPSU CC—mostly to the CC International
Polish sources on one of the Cold War's have at their disposal a whole set of previ- Department and the CC Socialist Countries'
most costly conflicts: the Vietnam War, which ously unavailable materials which shed new Communist and Workers' Parties Depart
consumed more than 58,000 American lives light on unresolved issues as well as on ment-by the Soviet Ministry of Foreign and, according to recent estimates, more problems which have either escaped the Affairs, Defense Ministry, and Committee
than 3.2 million Vietnamese lives. Preattention of Western scholars or have not of State Security (KGB). Considerably less
sented here are articles by Ilya V. Gaiduk yet been analyzed in detail.
frequently encountered, alas, is documenta- (Institute of Universal History, Russian AcadOne of those problems relates to the tion illuminating recommendations, draft emy of Sciences, Moscow), who employs Soviet Union's participation in the Vietnam decisions, and top-level decision-making.
documents from the CPSU Central Commitconflict, particularly the nature of Soviet- Thus, the top leadership's decisions and the tee archives to illuminate Soviet policy toAmerican relations during the war and mechanism of decision-making on this level
ward the Vietnam conflict (in a foretaste of Moscow's role as a potential mediator. are only indirectly reflected in the SCCD
his soon-to-be published book on the subIthough many U.S. researchers have stud- materials. This unfortunate gap, naturally, ject), and by Zhai Qiang (Auburn University ied these problems and, on the basis of the creates problems for historians trying to de
at Montgomery), who uses newly released documents analyzed, drawn certain conclu- termine how policy was actually made by the
Chinese sources to explore Beijing's hansions, their analyses of the subject were far top Soviet leadership on important foreign
top Soviet leadership on important foreigndling of the escalation of the war in 1964-65; from exhaustive and quite often insuffi- policy questions, and necessitates continued
and a precis of a secretly-prepared memoir ciently corroborated by the necessary archi- efforts to increase access to materials in by Jerzy Michalowski, a Polish diplomat val sources. Russian archives that remain off-limits, par
who was deeply involved in secret mediation The present article assesses Soviet ticularly the so-called Kremlin or Presiden
efforts between the United States and North policy toward Vietnam and the war's im- tial Archives, known officially as the Archive
Vietnam in the mid-1960s. pact on U.S.-Soviet relations from 1964 to of the President of the Russian Federation
However, recognizing that the most the early 1970s on the basis of materials (APRF).
important "other side" for Americans durbearing on this subject in the archive of the At the same time, the SCCD materials
ing the Vietnam War was, of course, the former Communist Party of the Soviet Union enable historians not only to reconstruct many
Vietnamese themselves, the Cold War InterCentral Committee (CPSU CC)—a reposi- events related to the Vietnam War during the
national History Project has launched an tory now known as the Storage Center for period in question, and to present matters Contemporary Documents (SCCD, or which were previously interpreted only in
was partly attributable to the growing differTsKhSD, in its Russian acronym)-located ferentially, but also to assess the develop
ences between the USSR and the PRC, the in the CC's former headquarters in Staraya ment of U.S.-Soviet relations in close inter
two chief patrons and supporters of the VietPloschad' (Old Square) in Moscow. This connection with the conflict in Southeast
namese struggle against the Saigon regime.2 report was originally prepared for presenta- Asia. This last factor is of obvious import,
Besides the impact of the Sino-Soviet split, tion at the January 1993 Moscow Confer- for one can hardly study U.S.-Soviet rela
the tension in Soviet-North Vietnamese reence on New Evidence on Cold War His- tions during the Vietnam War in isolation
lations during this stretch was also tied to the tory, organized by the Cold War Interna- from an understanding of relations between
relatively moderate stand adopted by the tional History Project (CWIHP) in coopera- the Soviet Union and North Vietnam (the
then Soviet government, under the leadertion with the Institute of General History of Democratic Republic of Vietnam, or DRV), ship of Nikita S. Khrushchev prior to his the Russian Academy of Sciences and
between the Soviet Union and the People's downfall in October 1964. Owing to the SCCD. Subsequently, the author expanded Republic of China (PRC), and between the
continued on page 250
BEIJING AND THE VIETNAM
Hanoi? How and why did a close relation- does not explain why Giap had to make a CONFLICT, 1964-1965:
ship between Beijing and Hanoi turn sour second visit to China shortly after his first NEW CHINESE EVIDENCE during the fight against a common foe? tour and why the Soviet participants at the
Drawing upon recently available Chinese talks changed. Perhaps disagreement by Qiang Zhai
materials, this paper will address these ques- emerged during the discussions of Giap's
tions. The first half of the article is prima- first trip, leaving some issues unresolved. In The years 1964-1965 marked a crucial rily narrative, while the second half provides
rily narrative, while the second half provides fact, according to the study by the researchperiod in the Vietnam War. The Gulf of an analysis of the factors that contributed to ers at the Guangxi Academy of Social SciTonkin Incident and subsequent U.S. esca- China's decision to commit itself to Hanoi, ences, the Chinese and the Russians differed lation of war against North Vietnam repre- placing Chinese actions in their domestic over strategies to reunify Vietnam. The sented a major turning point in the American and international context.
Soviet advisors favored peaceful coexistapproach to Indochina, as the Johnson Ad
ence between North and South Vietnam, ministration shifted its focus from Saigon to China's Role in Vietnam, 1954-1963 urging Hanoi to“reunify the country through Hanoi as the best way to reverse the deterio
peaceful means on the basis of indepenChina played an important role in help- dence and democracy.” The Chinese Com
ing Ho Chi Minh win the Anti-French War munists, conversely, contended that because effort to organize collaborative research
and in concluding the Geneva Accords in of imperialist sabotage it was impossible to with Vietnamese scholars and to collect Viet
1954.2 In the decade after the Geneva Con- reunify Vietnam through a general election namese sources on the international history
ference, Beijing continued to exert influence in accordance with the Geneva Accords, and of the Vietnam and Indochina conflicts. To
over developments in Vietnam. At the time that consequently North Vietnam should this end, CWIHP has begun contacts with
of the Geneva Conference, the Vietnamese prepare for a protracted struggle.6 the Institute of International Relations (IIR)
Communists asked the Chinese Communist On 24 December 1955, the Chinese in Hanoi on the possibility of organizing an Party (CCP) to help them consolidate peace government decided to withdraw the CMAG international scholarly conference on the
in the North, build the army, conduct land from Vietnam; Peng Dehuai notified Vo history of U.S.- Vietnam relations since World reform, rectify the Party, strengthen diplo- Nguyen Giap of this decision. By midWar II. CWIHP, along with the National
matic work, administer cities, and restore March 1956, the last members of the CMAG Security Archive at George Washington
the economy.3 Accordingly, Beijing sent had left the DRV. To replace the formal University, is also collecting declassified Fang Yi to head a team of Chinese economic CMAG, Beijing appointed a smaller team of archival evidence from Vietnamese, Ameriexperts to North Vietnam.4
military experts headed by Wang Yanquan can, and other sources in connection with an
According to the official history of the to assist the Vietnamese. oral history conference of senior former Chinese Military Advisory Group (CMAG), These developments coincided with a Vietnamese and American decision-makers
on 27 June 1955, Vo Nguyen Giap headed a major debate within the Vietnamese Com(including Kennedy and Johnson Adminis
Vietnamese military delegation on a secret munist leadership in 1956 over who should tration Defense Secretary Robert S.
visit to Beijing accompanied by Wei bear responsibility for mistakes committed McNamara), to be organized by the Council Guoqing, head of the CMAG in Vietnam.
Guoqing, head of the CMAG in Vietnam. during a land reform campaign which had on Foreign Relations, the Center for For
The Vietnamese visitors held discussions been instituted since 1953 in an imitation of eign Policy at Brown University, and the
with Chinese Defense Minister Peng Dehuai, the Chinese model. Truong Chinh, General IIR. (Agreement in principle to hold the
and General Petroshevskii, a senior Soviet Secretary of the Vietnamese Workers' Party conference was reached during discussions military advisor in China, regarding the (VWP), who was in charge of the land rein Hanoi in November 1995.)
Democratic Republic of Vietnam's recon- form program, was removed from his posiCWIHP also plans to devote a special struction of the army and the war plan for the tion at a Central Committee Plenum held in issue of the Bulletin to new evidence on the future. The DRV delegation visited the September. Le Duan, who became General war, primarily from Vietnamese sources.
Chinese North Sea Fleet before returning to Secretary later in the year, accused Truong --Jim Hershberg, Editor
Hanoi in mid-July. That fall, on 15 October Chinh of applying China's land reform ex
1955, Vo Nguyen Giap led another secret perience in Vietnam without considering the rating trend in South Vietnam and to per
military delegation to China, where he talked Vietnamese reality. 8 suade the North Vietnamese leadership to
with Peng Dehuai and Soviet General Gushev The failure of the land-reform program desist from their increasing involvement in again about the DRV's military develop
again about the DRV's military develop- in the DRV dovetailed with a growing realthe South. How did Beijing react to
ment and war planning. The Vietnamese ization that the reunification of the whole of Washington's escalation of the conflict in
inspected Chinese military facilities and Vietnam, as promised by the Geneva AcVietnam? How did Mao Zedong perceive
academies and watched a Chinese military cords, would not materialize, primarily as a U.S. intentions? Was there a “strategic exercise before traveling back to North Viet
exercise before traveling back to North Viet- result of U.S. support for the anti-Commudebate" within the Chinese leadership over nam on December 11.5
nist South Vietnamese regime of Ngo Dinh the American threat and over strategies that
The official CMAG history states that Diem, who refused to hold elections in 1956. China should adopt in dealing with the United
during both of Giap's journeys to Beijing, he As hopes for an early reunification dimmed, States? What was in Mao's mind when he
"reached agreement” with the Chinese and the DRV had to face its own economic decided to commit China's resources to
the Russians “on principal issues.” But it difficulties. The rice supply became a major
problem as Hanoi, no longer able to count fundamental, the most crucial, and the most strategy but simply stated that disintegration on incorporating the rice-producing South urgent task" for the Vietnamese revolution was replacing stability in the South. To take into its economy, was forced to seek alterna- was to carry out socialist revolution and advantage of this new situation, the Contive food sources for the North and to pre- socialist construction in the North. As to the gress urged the party to carry out both politipare the groundwork for a self-supporting South, the Chinese reply continued, Hanoi's cal and military struggle in the South and economy. In this regard, leaders in Hanoi task should be to promote “a national and called for an increase of support from the continued to seek Chinese advice despite democratic revolution.” But since it was North.15 This emphasis on a combination of the memory of the poorly-implemented land- impossible to realize such a revolution at the political and military struggle in the South reform program. There are indications that moment, the Chinese concluded, the VWP reflected to some degree the Chinese sugthe Chinese themselves had drawn lessons should “conduct a long-term underground gestion of caution. from the debacle of the Vietnamese land work, accumulate strength, establish contact In the spring of 1961, U.S President reform and had become more sensitive to with the masses, and wait for opportuni- John F. Kennedy approved an increase in the Vietnamese realities when offering sugges- ties."12 Clearly, Beijing did not wish to see Military Assistance and Advisory Group tions. In April 1956, Deputy Premier Chen the situation in Vietnam escalate into a major (MAAG) of 100 advisers and sent to VietYun, an economic specialist within the CCP, confrontation with the United States. Judg- nam 400 Special Forces troops to train the paid an unpublicized visit to Hanoi. At the ing by subsequent developments, the VWP South Vietnamese in counterinsurgency techrequest of Ho Chi Minh, Chen proposed the did not ignore the Chinese advice, for be- niques. This escalation of U.S. involvement principle of “agriculture preceding industry tween 1958 and 1960 Hanoi concentrated on in Indochina aroused Chinese leaders' conand light industry ahead of heavy industry” economic construction in the North, imple- cern. During DRV Premier Pham Van in developing the Vietnamese economy. menting the “Three-Year Plan” of a socialist Dong's visit to Beijing in June 1961, Mao The Vietnamese leadership adopted Chen's transformation of the economy and society. expressed a general support for the waging advice.9 Given the fact that the CCP was The policy of returning to revolutionary of an armed struggle by the South Vietnamputting a high premium on the development war adopted by the VWP Central Committee ese people while Zhou Enlai continued to of heavy industry at home during its First in May 1959 did not outline any specific stress flexibility in tactics and the imporFive-Year Plan at this time, Chen's empha- strategy to follow. The resolution had merely tance of "blending legal and illegal struggle sis on agriculture and light industry was mentioned that a blend of political and mili- and combining political and military apvery unusual, and demonstrated that the tary struggle would be required. During the proaches.' Chinese were paying more attention to Viet- next two years, debates over strategy and 1962 saw a major turning point in both namese conditions in their assistance to the tactics continued within the Hanoi leader- U.S. involvement in Vietnam and in Chinese DRV. Zhou Enlai echoed Chen's counsel of ship.13 Ho Chi Minh continued to consult the attitudes toward the conflict. In February, caution in economic planning during his Chinese. In May 1960, North Vietnamese Washington established in Saigon the Militour of Hanoi on 18-22 November 1956, and Chinese leaders held discussions in both tary Assistance Command, Vietnam when he told Ho Chi Minh to refrain from Hanoi and Beijing over strategies to pursue (MAC,V), to replace the MAAG. The haste in collectivizing agriculture: "Such in South Vietnam. Zhou Enlai and Deng Kennedy Administration coupled this move changes must come step by step.'
Xiaoping argued that in general political with a drastic increase in the number of Donald S. Zagoria argues in his book struggle should be combined with armed American “advisers" and the amount of miliVietnam Triangle that between 1957 and conflict and that since specific conditions tary hardware it was sending to the Diem 1960, the DRV shifted its loyalties from varied between the city and the countryside regime, marking a new level of U.S. interBeijing to Moscow in order to obtain Soviet in South Vietnam, a flexible strategy of vention in Vietnam. assistance for its economic development. 11 struggle should be adopted. In the city, the That spring, an important debate broke In reality, the Hanoi leadership continued to Chinese advised, political struggle would out within the Chinese leadership over the consult the CCP closely on such major is- generally be recommended, but to deliver a estimation of a world war, the possibility of sues as economic consolidation in the North final blow on the Diem regime, armed force peaceful coexistence with capitalist counand the revolutionary struggle in the South. would be necessary. Since there was an tries, and the degree of China's support for With the completion of its economic recov- extensive mass base in the countryside, mili- national liberation movements. On Februery in 1958, the VWP began to pay more tary struggle should be conducted there, but ary 27, Wang Jiaxiang, Director of the CCP attention to strengthening the revolutionary military struggle should include political Foreign Liaison Department, sent a letter to movement in the South. It sought Chinese struggle.14 The Chinese policymakers, pre- Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, and Chen Yi advice. In the summer of 1958, the VWP occupied with recovery from the economic (the three PRC officials directly in charge of presented to the CCP for comment two disasters caused by the Great Leap Forward, foreign policy), in which he criticized the documents entitled “Our View on the Basic clearly did not encourage a major commit- tendency to overrate the danger of world war Tasks for Vietnam during the New Stage” ment of resources from the North in support and to underestimate the possibility of peaceand “Certain Opinions Concerning the Uni- of a general offensive in the South at this ful coexistence with imperialism. In terms fication Line and the Revolutionary Line in juncture.
of support for national liberation movements, the South.” After a careful study, the Chi- In September 1960, the VWP convened Wang emphasized restraint, calling attennese leadership responded with a written its Third National Congress, which made no tion to China's own economic problems and reply, which pointed out that “the most major recommendations affecting existing limitations in resources. On the issue of
Vietnam, he asked the party to“guard against North Vietnamese officials discussed ing covert operations in North Vietnam, a Korea-style war created by American im- Beijing's assistance in constructing defense including intelligence overflights, the dropperialists,” and warned of the danger of works and naval bases in the northeastern ping of propaganda leaflets, and OPLAN “Khrushchev and his associates dragging us part of the DRV.22 According to a Chinese 34A commando raids along the North Vietinto the trap of war." Wang proposed that in source, in 1963 China and the DRV made an namese coast, the Johnson Administration order to adjust and restore the economy and agreement under which Beijing would send also conveyed to Pham Van Dong through a win time to tide over difficulties, China combat troops into North Vietnam if Ameri- Canadian diplomat on June 17 the message should adopt a policy of peace and concilia- can soldiers crossed the Seventeenth Paral- that the United States was ready to exert tion in foreign affairs, and that in the area of lel to attack the North. The Chinese soldiers increasingly heavy military pressure on the foreign aid China should not do what it would stay and fight in the North to free the DRV to force it to reduce or terminate its cannot afford. 17 But Mao rejected Wang's North Vietnamese troops to march to the encouragement of guerrilla activities in South proposal, condemning Wang as promoting a South.23 But the precise date and details of Vietnam. But the North Vietnamese leader "revisionist” foreign policy of “three ap- this agreement remain unclear.
refused to yield to the American pressure, peasements and one reduction" (appease- In sum, between 1954 and 1963 China declaring that Hanoi would not stop its supment of imperialism, revisionism, and inter- was closely involved in the development of port for the struggle of liberation in the national reactionaries, and reduction of as- Hanoi's policy. The CCP urged Ho Chi
South.25 sistance to national liberation movements).18 Minh to concentrate on consolidating the Mao watched these developments
The outcome of the debate had major DRV and to combine political and military closely. Anticipating new trouble, the chairimplications for China's policy toward Viet- struggles in the South. Although before man told General Van Tien Dung, Chief of nam. If Wang's moderate suggestions had 1962 Beijing policy makers were not eager Staff of the (North) Vietnamese People's been adopted, it would have meant a limited to see a rapid intensification of the revolu- Army, in June: “Our two parties and two Chinese role in Indochina. But Mao had tionary war in South Vietnam, neither did countries must cooperate and fight the enswitched to a militant line, choosing con- they discourage their comrades in Hanoi emy together. Your business is my business frontation with the United States. This turn from increasing military operations there. and my business is your business. In other to the left in foreign policy accorded with Between 1956 and 1963, China provided the words, our two sides must deal with the Mao's reemphasis on class struggle and radi- DRV with 270,000 guns, over 10,000 pieces enemy together without conditions.”26 Becal politics in Chinese domestic affairs in of artillery, nearly 200 million bullets, 2.02 tween July 5 and 8, Zhou Enlai led a CCP 1962. It also anticipated an active Chinese million artillery shells, 15,000 wire trans- delegation to Hanoi, where he discussed role in the unfolding crisis in Vietnam. With mitters, 5,000 radio transmitters, over 1,000 with leaders from the DRV and Pathet Lao the rejection of Wang's proposal, an oppor- trucks, 15 aircraft, 28 war ships, and 1.18 the situations in South Vietnam and Laos. 27 tunity to avert the later Sino-American hos- million sets of uniforms. The total value of Although the details of these talks are untility over Indochina was missed.
China's assistance to Hanoi during this pe- known, clearly the three Communist parties In the summer of 1962, Ho Chi Minh riod amounted to 320 million yuan.24 1962 were stepping up their coordination to conand Nguyen Chi Thanh came to Beijing to was a crucial year in the evolution of China's front the increasing threat from the United discuss with Chinese leaders the serious attitudes toward Vietnam. Abandoning the
States. situation created by the U.S. intervention in cautious approach, Mao opted for confron- Immediately after the Gulf of Tonkin Vietnam and the possibility of an American tation with the United States and decided to Incident, Zhou Enlai and Luo Ruiqing sent a attack against North Vietnam. Ho asked the commit China's resources to Hanoi. cable on August 5 to Ho Chi Minh, Pham Chinese to provide support for the guerrilla Beijing's massive supply of weapons to the Van Dong, and Van Tien Dung, asking them movement in South Vietnam. Beijing satis- DRV in 1962 helped Ho Chi Minh to inten- to “investigate the situation, work out counfied Ho's demand by agreeing to give the sify guerrilla warfare in the South, trigger- termeasures, and be prepared to fight.”28 In DRV free of charge 90,000 rifles and guns ing greater U.S. intervention. By the end of the meantime, Beijing instructed the that could equip 230 infantry battalions. 1963, Chinese leaders had become very ner- Kunming and Guangzhou Military Regions These weapons would be used to support vous about American intentions in Vietnam and the air force and naval units stationed in guerrilla warfare in the South.19 In March but were ready to provide full support for the south and south-west China to assume a 1963, Luo Ruiqing, Chief of Staff of the DRV in confronting the United States. state of combat-readiness. Four air diviChinese People's Liberation Army (PLA),
sions and one anti-aircraft division were visited the DRV and discussed with his hosts China's Reaction to U.S. Escalation dispatched into areas adjoining Vietnam and how China might support Hanoi if the United
put on a heightened alert status.29 In August, States attacked North Vietnam.20 Two In the first half of 1964, the attention of China also sent approximately 15 MiG-15 months later, Liu Shaoqi, Chairman of the U.S. officials was shifting increasingly from and MiG-17 jets to Hanoi, agreed to train PRC, traveled to Hanoi, where he told Ho South Vietnam toward Hanoi. This trend North Vietnamese pilots, and started to conChi Minh: "We are standing by your side, reflected mounting concern over the infiltra- struct new airfields in areas adjacent to the and if war broke out, you can regard China as tion of men and supplies from the North and Vietnamese border which would serve as your rear."21 Clearly Beijing was making a a growing dissatisfaction with a policy that sanctuary and repair and maintenance facilimajor commitment to Hanoi in early 1963. allowed Hanoi to encourage the insurgency ties for Hanoi's jet fighters.30 By moving Toward the end of the year, Chinese and without punishment. In addition to expand- new air force units to the border area and