Vietnamese Gather in Hanoi to Celebrate Anniversary of Border War With China
Dozens of Vietnamese people gathered in the capital city of Hanoi on Friday to commemorate the 38th anniversary of Sino-Vietnam war. The brief bloody war considerably strained the relationship between China and Vietnam for nearly a decade, before both countries normalized their relation in the early 1990s.
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The commemoration event happened amid heavy police presence as participants laid flowers and lit incense in front of the statue of King Ly Thai To, the founder of Hanoi city. The police used loudspeakers to regulate the crowd and urged them to disperse as soon as possible.
"I was moved because many people came here to lit incense to remember these heroic martyrs who sacrificed themselves defending Vietnamese borders," said Phung The Dung, one of the participants. He claimed that the police were trying their best to limit the public commemoration.
The Vietnam's government has tried to maintain a distance from the event as it clearly does not want to irk China. The country's online newspaper Vnexpress accused the government of trying to suppress the war's legacy. It claimed that most history text books in schools rarely mentioned about the war.
Nearly 38 years ago, China attacked Vietnam in response to the latter's invasion of Cambodia. The brief war ended after China pulled back its forces nearly one month later with both countries claiming victory.
The war is considered as a sore chapter in the history of the bilateral relationship between both countries, which has also been marred by territorial dispute over South China Sea region. However, recently there has been a thaw in their bilateral relationship.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited Beijing in September last year to mend ties. This was followed by Vietnam's communist party chief Nguyen Phu Trong's visit to China last month.
During these two high profile visits, both countries vowed to peacefully settle their differences over the South China Sea.