There is ample reason for the Vietnamese to be concerned. First, the last invasion by China in its history was directed against Vietnam. That occurred in 1979 when Deng Xiaoping, who is still revered in Communist Party of China circles, sought to “punish” that country. Second, the Chinese claim Vietnam’s continental shelf in the South China Sea and this claim has given rise to tension in the last few months. In July, Beijing issued threats against ExxonMobil, demanding the U.S. firm terminate its exploration deal with state oil company PetroVietnam. Third, the Chinese have used military measures to buttress their South China Sea claims, occupying the Philippines’s Mischief Reef in 1995, for instance. Fourth, Beijing actively patrols its websites and immediately removes material deemed offensive. Hanoi, therefore, was puzzled why the invasion plans stayed up so long.As Chang points out, the American response to Russia's attack on Georgia will do nothing to dissuade China.
And No doubt Syria would be the first to rush out to defend the Chinese in such a case.
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