What Agreement Divided Vietnam Into Two Countries

These internal difficulties have been exacerbated by foreign policy problems. Perhaps unrealistic, the regime decided to pursue projects to form a close alliance with new revolutionary governments in neighboring Laos and Cambodia (Kampuchea). Such plans risked not only the hostility of the United States, but also those of China, which had its own interests in those countries. When German-Vietnamese relations became angry, Hanoi addressed Moscow and signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation with the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, relations with the democratic revolutionary government Kampuchea (Red Khmer) in Cambodia quickly deteriorated by rejecting Hanois` offer of a close relationship between the three countries that once formed French Indochina. In December 1978, the border savage fighting culminated in a Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge were ousted from power and a pro-Vietnamese government was installed in Phnom Penh. The United States has pledged to prevent South Vietnam from falling into communist hands. At first, the United States operated behind the scenes, but after 1964, it sent combat troops and became deeper into the war. Chou and Nong Kimny met three days later, on July 17. On this occasion, Chou was clearly less conciliatory (as Nong Kimny reported) and explained China`s position in terms of requests rather than proposals. He called on the Cambodian government to integrate elements of resistance into the army, police and civil service. But he refrained from focusing on Cambodia`s future security position.

In a veiled warning, Chou said that if Cambodia were to join the pact, allow foreign bases on its territory or accept U.S. military instructors, “the consequences would be very serious and would worsen the situation with unfortunate consequences on Cambodia`s independence and territorial integrity” (Smith`s Paraphrase). Cambodia could have French or British instructors, Chou said. But its triple restriction, clearly directed towards insurance against the future Cambodia-U.S. The defence band remained – and, he added, it also applied to Laos and Vietnam. The driving force behind China`s desire to lead Asia at the Geneva conference was that negotiated solutions were possible for all remaining global problems. At the time of Geneva, Beijing was already involved in the ceasefire in Korea, an agreement with India on Tibet and declarations of mutual respect that were made bilaterally with India and Burma. In addition, China had already partnered with Moscow in September 1953 to support negotiations on the Indochina War, while the Sino-Indian and Sino-Burmese declarations also contained calls for a quick solution.

The important role played by Chou En-Lai in Geneva not only confirmed China`s interest in peace, but also founded China`s reputation as a flexible negotiator, ready to negotiate disputes and make concessions to resolve them. After the end of the conference, Beijing said the conference had proved that the negotiations could resolve other east-west problems, such as a final settlement of Korea, arms control, proliferation of nuclear weapons, German unification and European security. The fact that Moscow may have been involved in a major war, however, does not address the incentives it might have had when the ceasefire was concluded.

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