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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
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 ment 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 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 ing. 33
building new airfields there, Beijing in- means war. The war can not have
In discussions with Luo Ruiqing and tended to deter further U.S. expansion of boundaries. It is impossible for the Yang Chengwu, Zhou said: “According to war in South Vietnam and bombardment United States to finish the war sim- Pham Van Dong, U.S. blockade and bombagainst the DRV. Between August and ply by relying on a policy of bomb- ing has reduced supplies to South Vietnam September 1964, the PLA also sent an in
through sea shipment and road transportaspection team to the DRV to investigate the
tion. While trying to resume sea transportasituation in case China later needed to dis- This was the most serious warning issued by tion, the DRV is also expanding the corridor
, patch support troops to Vietnam.31
the Chinese government to the United States, in Lower Laos and roads in the South. Their The first months of 1965 witnessed a and given the caution exercised by President troops would go to the South to build roads. significant escalation of the American war Johnson in carrying out the “Rolling Thun- Therefore they need our support to construct in Vietnam. On February 7, 9 and 11, U.S. der” operations against the DRV, it was one roads in the North.” Zhou decided that the aircraft struck North Vietnamese military that Washington did not overlook. Clearly, Chinese military should be responsible for installations just across the 17th Parallel, U.S. leaders had drawn a lesson from the road repair and construction in North Vietostensibly in retaliation for Vietcong at- Korean War,
the Truman nam. Yang suggested that since assistance tacks on American barracks near Pleiku and Administration's failure to heed Beijing to the DRV involved many military and in Qui Nhon. On March 1, the Johnson warning against crossing the 38th parallel government departments, a special leaderAdministration stopped claiming that its air led to a bloody confrontation between the ship group should be created to coordinate attacks on North Vietnam were reprisals for United States and China.
the work of various agencies. Approving the specific Communist assaults in South Viet- The U.S. escalation in early 1965 made proposal, Zhou immediately announced the nam and began a continuous air bombing the DRV desperate for help. Le Duan and Vo establishment of the “Central Committee campaign against the DRV. On March 8, Nguyen Giap rushed to Beijing in early April and State Council Aid Vietnam Group” with two battalions of Marines armed with tanks to ask China to increase its aid and send Yang and Li Tianyou (Deputy Chief of Staff) and 8-inch howitzers landed at Danang. 32 troops to Vietnam. Le Duan told Chinese as Director and Vice Director.39 This epi
Worried about the increasing U.S. in- leaders that Hanoi needed “volunteer pilots, sode demonstrates Zhou's characteristic efvolvement in Vietnam, Zhou Enlai on April volunteer soldiers as well as other necessary fectiveness in organization and efficiency in 2 asked Pakistani President Ayub Khan to personnel, including road and bridge engi- administration. convey to President Johnson a four-point neers.” The Vietnamese envoys expected In early June, Van Tien Dung held dismessage:
Chinese volunteer pilots to perform four cussions with Luo Ruiqing in Beijing to
functions: to limit U.S. bombing to the south flesh out the general Chinese plan to assist (1) China will not take the initiative of the 20th or 19th parallel, to defend Hanoi, Vietnam. According to their agreement, if to provoke a war with the United to protect several major transportation lines, the war remained in the current conditions, States. (2) The Chinese mean what and to boost morale. 34 On behalf of the the DRV would fight the war by itself and they say. In other words, if any Chinese leadership, Liu Shaoqi replied to the China would provide various kinds of supcountry in Asia, Africa, or else- Vietnamese visitors on April 8 that “it is the port as the Vietnamese needed. If the United where meets with aggression by the obligation of the Chinese people and party” States used its navy and air force to support imperialists headed by the United to support the Vietnamese struggle against a South Vietnamese attack on the North, States, the Chinese government and the United States. “Our principle is,” Liu China would also provide naval and air force people will definitely give it sup- continued, “that we will do our best to pro- support to the DRV. If U.S. ground forces port and assistance. Should such vide you with whatever you need and what- were directly used to attack the North, China just action bring on American ag- ever we have. If you do not invite us, we will would use its land forces as strategic regression against China, we will not go to your place. We will send whatever serves for the DRV and conduct military unhesitatingly rise in resistance and part [of our troops] that you request. You operations whenever necessary. As to the fight to the end. (3) China is pre- have the complete initiative.”35
forms of Sino-Vietnamese air force cooppared. Should the United States
In April, China signed several agree- eration, Dung and Luo agreed that China impose a war on China, it can be ments with the DRV concerning the dispatch could send volunteer pilots to Vietnam to said with certainty that, once in of Chinese support troops to North Viet- operate Vietnamese aircraft, station both China, the United States will not be
36 Between April 21 and 22, Giap dis- pilots and aircraft in Vietnam airfields, or fly able to pull out, however many men cussed with Luo Ruiqing and First Deputy aircraft from bases in China to join combat it may send over and whatever
Chief of Staff Yang Chengwu the arrange- in Vietnam and only land on Vietnamese ons it may use, nuclear weapons ments for sending Chinese troops.37 In May, bases temporarily for refueling. The third included. (4) Once the war breaks Ho Chi Minh paid a secret visit to Mao in option was known as the “Andong model” (a out, it will have no boundaries. If Changsha, the chairman's home province, reference to the pattern of Chinese air force the American madmen bombard where he asked Mao to help the DRV repair operations during the Korean War). In terms China without constraints, China and build twelve roads in the area north of of the methods of employing PRC ground will not sit there waiting to die. If Hanoi. The Chinese leader accepted Ho’s troops, the two military leaders agreed that they come from the sky, we will request and instructed Zhou Enlai to see to the Chinese forces would either help to fight back on the ground. Bombing the matter.38
strengthen the defensive position of the DRV
troops to prepare for a North Vietnamese nicated to U.S. intelligence through aerial that will determine the final victory of the counter offensive or launch an offensive photography and electronic intercepts. This war.”:47 At first Mao did not expect that the themselves to disrupt the enemy's deploy- evidence, along with the large base complex
evidence, along with the large base complex United States would attack North Vietnam ment and win the strategic initiative.40 that China built at Yen Bai in northwest directly.48
.48 The Gulf of Tonkin Incident But despite Liu Shaoqi's April promise Vietnam, provided credible and successful came as a surprise to him. In the wake of the to Le Duan and Luo Ruiqing's agreement deterrence against an American invasion of incident, Mao pointed out on October 22 that with Van Tien Dung, China in the end failed North Vietnam.45
China must base its plans on war and make to provide pilots to Hanoi. According to the The specter of a Chinese intervention in active preparations for an early, large-scale, Vietnamese “White Paper” of 1979, the a manner similar to the Korean War was a and nuclear war. 49 Chinese General Staff on 16 July 1965 noti- major factor in shaping President Johnson's To deal with what he perceived as U.S. fied its Vietnamese counterpart that “the gradual approach to the Vietnam War. military threats, Mao took several domestic time was not appropriate” to send Chinese Johnson wanted to forestall Chinese inter- measures in 1964, the most important of pilots to Vietnam.41 The PRC's limited air vention by keeping the level of military which was the launching of the massive force capacity may have caused Beijing to actions against North Vietnam controlled, Third Front project. This program called for have second thoughts, perhaps reinforcing exact, and below the threshold that would heavy investment in the remote provinces of Beijing's desire to avoid a direct confronta- provoke direct Chinese entry. This China- southwestern and western China and envition with the United States. Whatever the induced U.S. strategy of gradual escalation sioned the creation of a huge self-sustaining reasons for China's decision, the failure to was a great help for Hanoi, for it gave the industrial base area to serve as a strategic satisfy Hanoi's demand must have greatly Vietnamese communists time to adjust to reserve in the event China became involved disappointed the Vietnamese since the con- U.S. bombing and to develop strategies to in war. The project had a strong military trol of the air was so crucial for the DRV's frustrate American moves. As John Garver orientation and was directly triggered by the effort to protect itself from the ferocious has aptly put it, “By helping to induce Wash- U.S. escalation of war in Vietnam.50 U.S. bombing, and undoubtedly contributed ington to adopt this particular strategy, On 25 April 1964, the War Department to North Vietnam's decision in 1965 to rely Beijing contributed substantially to Hanoi's of the PLA General Staff drafted a report for more on the Soviet Union for air defense. eventual victory over the United States.”:46 Yang Chengwu on how to prevent an enemy Beginning in June 1965, China sent
surprise attack on China's economic conground-to-air missile, anti-aircraft artillery, Explaining PRC Support for the DRV struction. The report listed four areas vulrailroad, engineering, mine-sweeping, and
nerable to such an attack: (1) China's induslogistical units into North Vietnam to help Mao's decision to aid Hanoi was closely try was over-concentrated. About 60 perHanoi. The total number of Chinese troops linked to his perception of U.S. threats to cent of the civil machinery industry, 50 in North Vietnam between June 1965 and China's security, his commitment to na- percent of the chemical industry, and 52 March 1973 amounted to over 320,000.42 tional liberation movements, his criticism of percent of the national defense industry were To facilitate supplies into South Vietnam, Soviet revisionist foreign policy, and his concentrated in 14 major cities with over one China created a secret coastal transportation domestic need to transform the Chinese state million people. (2) Too many people lived in line to ship goods to several islands off and society. These four factors were mutu- cities. According to the 1962 census, in Central Vietnam for transit to the South. A ally related and reinforcing.
addition to 14 cities of above one million, 20 secret harbor on China's Hainan Island was Sense of Insecurity:
cities had a population between 500,000 and constructed to serve this transportation route. Between 1964 and 1965, Mao worried one million. Most of these cities were loBeijing also operated a costly transportation about the increasing American involvement cated in the coastal areas and very vulnerline through Cambodia to send weapons, in Vietnam and perceived the United States able to air strikes. No effective mechanisms munitions, food, and medical supplies into as posing a serious threat to China's secu- existed at the moment to organize anti-air South Vietnam.43 When the last Chinese rity. For him, support for North Vietnam works, evacuate urban populations, continue troops withdrew from Vietnam in August was a way of countering the U.S. strategy of production, and eliminate the damages of an 1973, 1,100 soldiers had lost their lives and containment of China. The Communist suc- air strike, especially a nuclear strike. (3) 4,200 had been wounded. 44
cess in South Vietnam would prevent the Principal railroad junctions, bridges, and The new materials from China indicate United States from moving closer to the harbors were situated near big and mediumthat Beijing provided extensive support(short Chinese southern border.
size cities and could easily be destroyed of volunteer pilots) for Hanoi during the On several occasions in 1964, Mao when the enemy attacked the cities. No Vietnam War and risked war with the United talked about U.S. threats to China and the measures had been taken to protect these States in helping the Vietnamese. As Allen need for China to prepare for war. During a transportation points against an enemy atS. Whiting has perceptively observed, the Central Committee conference held between tack. In the early stage of war, they could deployment of Chinese troops in Vietnam May 15 and June 17, the chairman con- become paralyzed. (4) All of China's reserwas not carried out under maximum security tended that “so long as imperialism exists, voirs had a limited capacity to release water against detection by Washington. The Chi- the danger of war is there. We are not the in an emergency. Among the country's 232 nese troops wore regular uniforms and did chief of staff for imperialism and have no large reservoirs, 52 were located near major not disguise themselves as civilians. The idea when it will launch a war. It is the transportation lines and 17 close to imporChinese presence was intentionally commu- conventional weapon, not the atomic bomb, tant cities. In conclusion, the report made it clear that “the problems mentioned above While emphasizing the “big Third Front” that intruded into Chinese airspace in order are directly related to the whole armed forces, plan on the national level, Mao also ordered to avoid a direct military clash with the to the whole people, and to the process of a provinces to proceed with their “small Third United States. 59 national defense war.” It asked the State Front” projects. The chairman wanted each In April, however, Mao rescinded the Council “to organize a special committee to province to develop its own light armament "Six Point Directive.” Between April 8 and study and adopt, in accordance with the industry capable of producing rifles, ma- 9, U.S. aircraft flew into China's airspace possible conditions of the national economy, chine guns, canons, and munitions.55 The over Hainan Island. On April 9, Yang practical and effective measures to guard Third Five-Year Plan was revised to meet the Chengwu reported the incidents to Mao, against an enemy surprise attack.”51 strategic contingency of war preparation. In suggesting that the order not to attack invad
Yang Chengwu presented the report to the modified plan, a total of three billion ing U.S. airplanes be lifted and that the air Mao, who returned it to Luo Ruiqing and yuan was appropriated for small Third Front force command take control of the naval air Yang on August 12 with the following com- projects. This was a substantial figure, but units stationed on Hainan Island. Approvment: “It is an excellent report. It should be less than 5 percent of the amount set aside for ing both of Yang's requests, Mao said that carefully studied and gradually imple- the big Third Front in this period. 56 In sum, China “should resolutely strike American mented.” Mao urged the newly established the Third Front was a major strategic action aircraft that overfly Hainan Island.”60 It is State Council Special Committee in charge designed to provide an alternative industrial quite possible that the further U.S. escalaof the Third Front to begin its work imme- base that would enable China to continue tion of war in Vietnam in the intervening diately.52 Mao's approval of the report production in the event of an attack on its months caused Mao to abandon his earlier marked the beginning of the Third Front large urban centers.
restrictions against engaging U.S. aircraft. project to relocate China's industrial re- In addition to his apprehension about a It is important to point out that the entire sources to the interior. It is important to note strike on China's urban and coastal areas, Chinese leadership, not just Mao, took the the timing of Mao's reaction to the report- Mao also feared that the enemy might deploy strategic threat from the United States very right after the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. The paratroop assault forces deep inside China. seriously during this period. Zhou Enlai told U.S. expansion of the war to North Vietnam In a meeting with He Long, Deputy Chair- Spiro Koleka, First Deputy Chairman of the had confirmed Mao's worst suspicions about man of the Central Military Commission, Council of Ministers of Albania, on 9 May American intentions.
Luo Ruiqing, and Yang Chengwu on 28 1965 in Beijing that China was mobilizing Deputy Prime Minister Li Fuchun be- April 1965, Mao called their attention to its population for war. Although it seemed came Director, Deputy Prime Minister Bo such a danger. He ordered them to prepare that the United States had not made
its Yibo and Luo Ruiqing became Vice Direc- for the landing of enemy paratroopers in mind to expand the war to China, the Chitors of the Special Committee. On August every interior region. The enemy might use nese premier continued, war had its own law 19, they submitted to Mao a detailed pro- paratroops, Mao contended, “to disrupt our of development, usually in a way contrary to posal on how to implement the Third Front rear areas, and to coordinate with a frontal
the wishes of people. Therefore China had ideas.53 In the meantime, the CCP Secre- assault. The number of paratroops may not to be prepared.61 Zhou's remarks indicated tariat met to discuss the issue. Mao made be many. It may involve one or two divisions that he was familiar with a common pattern two speeches at the meetings on August 17 in each region, or it may involve a smaller in warfare: accidents and miscalculations and 20. He asserted that China should be on unit. In all interior regions, we should build rather than deliberate planning often lead to guard against an aggressive war launched caves in mountains. If no mountain is around, war between reluctant opponents. by imperialism. At present, factories were hills should be created to construct defense In an address to a Central Military Comconcentrated around big cities and coastal works. We should be on guard against en- mission war planning meeting on 19 May regions, a situation deleterious to war prepa- emy paratroops deep inside our country and 1965, Liu Shaoqi stated: ration. Factories should be broken into two prevent the enemy from marching unstopped parts. One part should be relocated to inte- into China.”57
If our preparations are faster and rior areas as early as possible. Every prov- It appears that Mao's attitudes toward
better, war can be delayed.... If we ince should establish its own strategic rear the United States hardened between January make excellent preparations, the base. Departments of industry and trans- and April 1965. In an interview with Edgar enemy may even dare not to inportation should move, so should schools, Snow on January 9, Mao had expressed con- vade.... We must build the big Third science academies, and Beijing University. fidence that Washington would not expand Front and the small Third Front The three railroad lines between Chengdu the war to North Vietnam because Secretary and do a good job on every front, and Kunming, Sichuan and Yunnan, and of State Dean Rusk had said so. He told including the atomic bomb, the hyYunnan and Guizhou should be completed Snow that there would be no war between drogen bomb, and long-distance as quickly as possible. If there were a China and the United States if Washington missiles. Under such circumshortage of rails, the chairman insisted, rails did not send troops to attack China.58 Two stances, even if the United States on other lines could be dismantled. To days later, the CCP Central Military Com- has bases in Japan, Taiwan, and the implement Mao's instructions, the meet- mission issued a “Six-Point Directive on the Philippines, its ships are big tarings decided to concentrate China's finan- Struggle against U.S. Ships and Aircraft in gets out on the sea and it is easy for cial, material, and human resources on the the South China Sea,” in which it instructed us to strike them. We should deconstruction of the Third Front.54
the military not to attack American airplanes velop as early as possible new tech
nology to attack aircraft and war- revisionism). Although the article included tries in Europe, Asia, and Africa,” and that it ships so that we can knock out one some of Lin Biao's previous statements, Lin was difficult for “the U.S. reactionaries to enemy ship with a single missile. himself was not involved in its writing. When attack the Soviet Union before they could The enemy's strength is in its navy, Luo Ruiqing asked Lin for his instructions subjugate these countries.”71 In the late air force, atomic bombs, and mis- about the composition of the article, the 1940s and throughout the greater part of the siles, but the strength in navy and Defense Minister said nothing. Zhou Enlai 1950s, Mao leaned to the side of the Soviet air force has its limits. If the enemy and other standing Politburo members read Union to balance against the perceived sends ground troops to invade the piece before its publication.67 The ar- American threat. But beginning in the late China, we are not afraid. There- ticle was approved by the Chinese leader- 1950s, with the emergence of Sino-Soviet fore, on the one hand we should be hip as a whole and was merely published in differences, Mao came to revise his characprepared for the enemy to come Lin Biao's name. Luo Ruiqing was purged terization of the international situation. He from all directions, including a joint in December 1965 primarily because of his saw China confronting two opponents: the invasion against China by many dispute with Lin Biao over domestic mili- United States and the Soviet Union. To countries. On the other, we should tary organization rather than over foreign oppose these two foes and break China's realize that the enemy lacks justifi- policy issues. 68 Luo did not oppose Mao on international isolation, Mao proposed the cation in sending troops.... This Vietnam policy. In fact he carried out loy- formation of an international united front. will decide the difference between ally every Vietnam-related order issued by Operating from the principle of making a just and an unjust war.
the chairman. Mao completely dominated friends with countries in the “Two Interme
the decision making. The origins of the diate Zones,” Mao promoted such antiZhu De remarked at the same meeting that “People's War” article point to the danger of American tendencies as French President “so long as we have made good preparations relying on public pronouncements to gauge De Gaulle's break with the United States in on every front, the enemy may not dare to inner-party calculations and cast doubts on the first zone and championed national libcome. We must defend our offshore islands. the utility of the faction model in explaining eration movements in the second zone. For With these islands in our hands, the enemy Chinese foreign policy making. 69
Mao, the Vietnam conflict constituted a part will find it difficult to land. If the enemy
of a broader movement across Asia, Africa, should launch an attack, we will lure them Commitment to National Liberation and Latin America, which together repreinside China and then wipe them out comMovements:
sented a challenge to imperialism as a whole.
The second factor that shaped Mao's China reached out to anti-colonial guerrillas Scholars have argued over Beijing's decision to support the DRV was his desire in Angola and Mozambique, to the “proreaction to the threat posed by U.S. interven- to form a broad international united front gressive” Sihanouk in Cambodia, to the lefttion in Vietnam. Much of this argument against both the United States and the Soviet ist regime under Sukarno in Indonesia, and focuses on the hypothesis of a “strategic Union. To Mao, national liberation move- to the anti-U.S. Castro in Cuba.72 Toward debate” in 1965 between Luo Ruiqing and ments in the Third World were the most the former socialist camp dominated by the Lin Biao. Various interpretations of this important potential allies in the coalition Soviet Union, Mao encouraged Albania to “debate” exist, but most contend that Luo that he wanted to establish. In the early persuade other East European countries to was more sensitive to American actions in 1960s, the chairman developed the concept separate from Moscow.73 Indochina than either Lin or Mao, and that of Two Intermediate Zones.” The first zone During this increasingly radical period Luo demanded greater military preparations referred to developed countries, including of Chinese foreign policy, Mao singled out to deal with the threat, including accepting capitalist states in Europe, Canada, Japan, three anti-imperialist heroes for emulation the Soviet proposal of a “united front.”64 Australia, and New Zealand. The second by Third World liberation movements: Ho
However, there is nothing in the re- zone referred to underdeveloped nations in Chi Minh, Castro, and Ben Bella, the Algecently available Chinese materials to con- Asia, Africa, and Latin America. These two rian nationalist leader. In a speech to a firm the existence of the “strategic debate” zones existed between the two superpowers. delegation of Chilean journalists on 23 June in 1965.65 The often cited evidence to sup- Mao believed that countries in these two 1964, Mao remarked: “We oppose war, but port the hypothesis of a strategic debate is zones had contradictions with the United we support the anti-imperialist war waged the two articles supposedly written by Luo States and the Soviet Union and that China by oppressed peoples. We support the revoRuiqing and Lin Biao on the occasion of the should make friends with them to create an lutionary war in Cuba and Algeria. We also commemoration of V-J day in September international united front against Washing- support the anti-U.S.-imperialist war con1965.66 In fact, the same writing group ton and Moscow.70
ducted by the South Vietnamese people.” organized by Luo Ruiqing in the General Mao initially developed the idea of the In another address to a group of visitors from Staff was responsible for the preparation of “intermediate zone” during the early years Asia, Africa, and Oceania on July 9, Mao both articles. The final version of the of the Cold War. In a discussion with Anna again mentioned the names of Ho Chi Minh, “People's War” article also incorporated Louise Strong in 1946, the CCP leader first Castro, and Ben Bella as models of antiopinions from the writing team led by Kang broached the idea. He claimed that the colonial and anti-imperialist struggle.75 Sheng. (Operating in the Diaoyutai National United States and the Soviet Union were Envisioning China as a spokesman for Guest House, Kang's team was famous for “separated by a vast zone including many the Third World independence cause, Mao writing the nine polemics against Soviet capitalist, colonial and semi-colonial coun- believed that the Chinese revolutionary ex