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From misfire to big shot: how the military helped China open up and become a force to be reckoned with

2018-12-07 09:39:49       source:South China Morning Post

December 7, 2018

When late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping gave the order for more than 300,000 People’s Liberation Army troops to cross from southwest China into Vietnam in February 1979, there was more than regional rivalry at stake.

Within a month, the PLA occupied more than a dozen cities in northern and southern Vietnam, overcoming the heavily outnumbered Vietnamese troops and militia. Then on March 16 China suddenly withdrew all of its troops, declaring that it had “successfully given Vietnam a lesson”.

On the surface, Beijing said it was punishing Hanoi for helping Moscow advance its political influence in the region at the expense of China.

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