Competition in Indochina
Ink-.agenci Inlcllifience Mcmotanduc
CIA HiSTGRiCAL REVIEWELEASE AS SANITIZED
SINO-SOVIET COMPETITION IN' INDOCHINA
Indochina today is divided into two camps, with tlie USSR backing Vietrjam and Laos, and China backing Kampucheahis development is largely the result of the conflicting national ambitions of China and Vietnam, each of which wishes to exercise paramount influence in thc area. This competition, although muted during the Vietnam war. has deep roots and is likely to intensify.
The immediate cause of the present Sino-Victnameseis the escalating border war between Vietnam and Kampuchea. China believes Vietnam is determined to replace the Pol Pot government with one responsive to Hanoi's direction. Although China is unhappy with some of the policies of the present Khmer regime, it considers an independent Kampuchea allied with Peking an essential buffer against the expansion of Vietnamese, and by extension Soviet, influence in the area.
hopes to thwart Vietnamese ambitions by providing strong support for Kampuchea whileiplomatic and propaganda campaign Io portray Vietnamoviet cat's-paw and arouse suspicions about Hanoi among non-Communist Southeast Asian states.
is the principal source of military and economic aid to Kampuchea. It has several thousand advisers in Kampuchea and has increased military aid since the escalation of the Kampuchean-Vietnamese border war. China's termination of all aid to Vietnam earlier this year will trouble but not cripple the Vietnamese economy because Chinese aid had already been reduced after the end of thc Indochina war. China also supplies economic aid to Laos.os hashinese sphere of influence for many years as the resultoadbuilding project in thc area
is trying to encourage thc Pol Pot government to moderate its domestic and foreign policies in order lo improve its international standing.
Vietnam over the long term would like topecial relationship with Kampuchea similar to the one Hanoi has with Laos. Over the short term, however, Vietnam could tolerate a
governmenl in Phnom Penh wiih close ties to China so long as it ceased provocative actions along the Vietnamese border.
is unlikely to Launch an all-out invasion of Kampuchea, although it might be tempted to move if there were an open breakdown of political order in Kampuchea. In the event ofietnamese attack. China would have only limited ability to aid the Phnom Penh regime. Despite thc excesses of the Pol Pot government, few Khmer would welcome Vietnamese intervention, and Vietnam wouldbecome bogged downuerrilla war.
ts more likely to pursue Its present policy of trying to secure Its borders against Kampuchcan attacks while seeking to raise an anrigovcrnmcnt insurgent movement inside Kampuchea.
The USSR is the most likely lo benefit, at least over the short term, from the developing situation in Indochina. Thc Soviets will take advantage of the opportunity to try to make Vietnam dependent on Moscow, therebyphere of influence on China's southern boundary.
and Vietnam arc thc only countries in Southeast Asia to allow the Soviets moreoken presence. Thc Soviets probably hope that their position in Vietnam will aid them in extending their influence elsewhere in the area. If the Southeast Asians believe that Vietnam is actingoviet stalking-horse, however, it will harm rather than help Soviet interests.
has already moved closer lo Moscow byriendship and coopeiation treaty and joining the Council for Mutual Economic Assistancehe Soviets are the major source of aid to Vietnam, bui most of it is still economic. Soviet military shipments do not appear to have increased since the confrontation with China, but this may change in the near future. The Soviets will lake over some of tlie formerly Chinese aid projects.
USSR may hope eventually to obtain access to Vietnamese military facilities. Vietnam is unlikely to grant tbe Soviets formal base rights but might permit the Soviets access to air or naval facilities under certain uances
The non-Communist states of Southeast Asia are concerned about the consequences of inlensified Si no Soviel competition in the area although ihey diaw comfoil from tbe prospect of Communist countries fighting amoiii: themselves Thus far the
main impact on lhc countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been an intensive diplomatic campaign to court their favor by all sides. Sinceop official from each of the four major parties to the dispute has visited Southeast Asia.
Vietnam's deteriorating relations with China have increased Hanoi's interest in establishing diplomatic ties with the United States. Vietnamese leaders believe an American embassy in Hanoi would serveymbol of Vietnam's international acceptance, Vietnam is also seeking aid and foreign investment from the West to help balance aid from the Soviel bloc.
IndocliiriB It fn effect divided Intowith the SovieU lucking Vietnam andthe Clilnesc backing. Kampucheatensions that led to this development ateand reflect historic racial arstaf&rusrns,national goals in Southeast Asia, andcompetition Although triggered bybetween Vietnam and Kampudtca andto Increased Sino-Soviet competition In thedriving force behind the present situation Istension between Vietnam andemergenceolitical dynamic that pitsgovernments, of Indochina and theirbackers against each other poses bothand new opportunities forof Southeast Asia as well as lorStates and other interested outsiders
COMPETING NATIONAL INTERESTS
Chinese-Vietnamese rivalry Is deeplythe history of the two countries, with Chinathe centuries to secure Vietnam asclient state, while Vietnameseto asserl thcii indepr?ndcnce, oftenof arms. Even during the Indochina wat. wheneffort was made to paper overand Hanoi argued over Vietnam's militarystrategies, and China sought to limitof Soviet influence in Vietnam. AtChina even delayed rail shipments oflo Vietnam
Chinese and Vietnamese national ambitions clash dramatically over tbe nature and orientation of lhc Kampuchea" Government Vietnam's current leaders see themselves as the natural and legitimate heirs to thc fotmet French Indochina empire. The Chinese, for thetr part, have sought tolose relationship with an independent Kampuchea to limit the eapanslon of Vietnamese influence in Indochina
The rulers of Vietnam, retard less of their ideology, have historically attempted to extend their influence over the area thai Is today encompassed by lhc stales ol Laos and Kampuchea Thc competition
for control of the Mekong Delta and easternwas particularly intense. The Khmer empire, historic antecedent of present-day Kampuchea, once held sway over much of southern Vietnam but was pushed back by Vietnamese expansion southward. Khmer memories of part glory are not dead, and the racially conscious Vietnamese, for their part, have always looked down on thc darker skinned Khmer as an inferior people.
h century, the rise of an anti-Frenchmovement served to spreadin Indochina. The Vietnamesein the forefront of this movement, and tlieCommunist Party was thefor the Independence movements inLaos and Kampuchea. Vietnamesetrained, and often directed thethere Allhough the liberation ofhad dear priority, the insurgencies InKampuchea were seen as integral parts of aparts moving in different sequence, but
the finale loommunist Indochina guided by theo Dong Party.
Nonelheless. tlic Vietnamese Communist leaders probably realized some time before tlie end of the war that their ability to control the Communist movement in Kampuchea would be limited. Strong ethnic animosity provoked tension and conflict between Khmer Communist forces and their Vietnamese allies from tlie slarl. The present renewed and escalating conflict-whileeflection of the excesslvelv radical character of thc present Kampucheanreflecu the depth of traditional antipathyistoric sense ol outrage over the treatment of Kampuchea by its neighbor.
Vietnamese ambitions toward Kampucheachallenge China's interest in tbe region, although this conflict of Interests was muted during the Vietnam war. Alter the fall of Pi luce Sihanoukeking Intensified iU efforts lo improve lies with the Khmerhile providing asylum tu SlhanouV In Pekinc Tlte Chinese undertook to aid the Communist war effort against tlie Ion Noi govetn-
Tlie Khmer Communists were already Involved in occasional sharp fighting with the Vietnamese Communists in eastern Kampuchea, and there were indications that Hanoi was restricting the flow of Chinese military supplies transiting Vietnam en route to the Khmer Communists. Using the leverate at its command. Peking al the same time tried both to reconcile tlse Khmer Communists and Sihanouk and to induce greater cooperation between tint Vietnamese and the Khmer Communists In their respective war efforts One of Peking's obicctives was to patchew rover nment in Phnom Penh which would .neot China's needampuchea able to withstand Vietnam's attempts at domination.
& Duringnd, Chinas worsening dispute with the USSR created new tensions in Chinese-Vietnamese relations It added an extra dimension to longstanding bilateral disputes; Into dissension over Kampuchea and the status of the overseas Chinese In Vietnam, Hanoi and Peking abo have conflicting territorial claims alone tbeir comnson border, in the South China Sea, and in the Culf of Tookio- Chinese leaders perceived aSoviel threat along the Sino-Soviet border and renewed Soviet attempts to encircle China at thc same time that the US presence in Asia appeared to be diminishing. Thb led Peking to revise its List of enemies, putting the USSR at the top and demoting the United States to the number-two position. The Chinese interpreted Soviet dealing with Vietnam as inherently hostilenterests.
Altliough Ihe USSR and China have competed for influence among tlie stales and Communist parties of Southeast Asia for well over two decades, Soviet involvement generally reflects the broader SI oo-Soviet rivalry and. more recently, the potential (or developoviet sphere ol influence on China's southern periphery. Southeast Asia Is geographically distant from the USSR and has never ranked very high in Ibe Soviet scheme cf things In fact. Soviet interest probably declined somewhat once US forces were withdrawn from mainland Southeast AsiaS and new. and seemingly more promising, opportunities opened up for the USSR in Africa
The primary Soviet obiectivc in Southeast Asia is to prevent China from significantly eapanding its influence there and thus gaining more confidence in ils capabilities lo challenge the USSR. Moscow would also like to reduce Western, above all US. inlluence in the region, but not if thb redoundt to China's benefit.
At present the Soviets seem to believe that Chinaar better position than the USSR lo profit from any waning of Western influence In Southeast Asia
IL Chinese and Soviet interests In aiding Vietnam during the Indochina war somewhat offset (be competition between China and the USSR, as well as that between China and Vietnam. The Vietnamese Communists, moreover, skillfully played (he two Communist powers against ooe another during the wej in order to gain maximum advantage from both. After the war ended, the underlying tendons and conflicting national interests gradually sharpened. The USSR wasetter position tlian China to provide the economic assistance Vietnam needed to reconstruct and to unify (he country. Moreover, as'the more distant power. Moscow clearlyess direct threat to Vietnam's interests tlian did China.
CHINA AND THE PRESENT SITUATION
he most dramatic manifestation of the recent deterioration of relations between Otitis and Vietnam has been the public confrontation over Vietnam's treatment of its overseas Chinese. InS Vietnam decided to nationalize privateove (hat most heavily affected thc overseas Chinese community inem Vietnam Anti-Chineseamong Viotnamese official) apparently caused litem to implement these ordersarticularly harsh fashion. Tbe subsequent panic among overseasthroughout Vietnam was used by China as the Justification (or subsequent actions against Vietnam, in particular tlie termination of economic assistance
bc decision lo nationalize trade was based primarily on economicbegovernmcni could no longer tolerate the existenceelatively rich, (reewheeling commercial sectorime when it sought to socialize the south and to distribute scarce goods in an orderly and equitable manner. Although Vietnamese leaders were certainly aware that takingove mighteaction Irom China, particuUrly in view ofeady poor stale ol Sine-Vietnamese relations, they niobablv did noi anticipate the panic among the Chinese within Vietnam or the subsequent intensity o( Peking's response While this and other tMtatersl disputes, such as eon (bains; territorial claims on the continental shelf, aie indeed souiccs of friction, bv themselves they would probably noi have brought Sinn-Vietnamese telations to the curieiil high level of
n retrospect,lain that the catalyst for (ho public falling out between Hanoi and Peking wm tbe outbreak of serious fighting between Kampuchea and Vietnam inor several moot hi Karnpuchcan troops bad been staging raids across the border againsi Vietnamese villages andstal la lions. Vietnam, already reseritful of China's deep involvement la Kampuchea, believed that China's position as the major source of military and economic support for Kampuchea rave Pekingto moderate Kampuchean policies towardChina's apparent unwillingness lo use thb presumed influence to end hostilities was seen In Hanoi as evidence of Peking's fundamental hostility toward Vietnam.
IS. Peking had In fact initiallyegotiated solution to tbe border probaems. but thb.hope was dashed when Kampuchea slwwcd no interest Hanoi, frustrated in its attempts to negotiate wtth Phnom I'cnh, settledwo-partsecure its border byeries of salients within Kampuchea and to try to topple the Pol Pot government by combining military pressure with support for an insurgent movement. Peking concludedeaceful solution was unlikely and that Hanoi was determined to replace the current Kampuchean regime with one responsive to Vietnamese direction. Byhinese leaders had evidently decided to sacrifice bilateral relations with Vietnam In order to prevent llie establishmentiolnamrsc-dorninatcd. Soviet-backed "Indochina Federation" on China's southern flank.
hina publicly linked its termination of aid lo Hanoi with Vietnam's 'mistreatment" of Us overseasbul Peking's real intent probably was to'eaert pressure on Hanoi to cease acts considered Inutile to Chinese Interests, particularly the conflict withAt the time the dispute over the ethnic Chinese broke out. Vice Premier Tcng Hsiao-p'ing said the Vietnamese had alreadyteps" against Criioa; when Hanoi lookhat is. "cupelling" ethnic Chinese, Peking took lisamely cutting off aid programs to Vietnam ami dispatching ships to pick up overseas Chinese refugees
eking appears determined to make Hanoi and Moscow pay dearly for anyo this end. Peking has embarked on its nwn iwo pronged strategy of open political and economic pleasures against Hanoi coupled with increased backing for Kampuchea in Ms border war with Vietnam. China believes these actions
also would increaseburden" on the USSR. These efforts, along with China's attempt in Its diplomatic and propaganda campaigns to portray Vietnam as tho "Cuba of theuggest that Peking also hopes to reinforce Southeast Asian suspicions about the degree of Soviet influence In Vietnam, to undermine Soviet Initiatives elsewhere In the region, and per haps even to cause some top-level dissension in Hanoi
s for Kampuchea. Peking has been providing Increasingly vocal political support for Phnom Penh's cause since the Sino-Vietnamese dispute became public in late May. The first known postwar visit to Chinaampuchean military rlelegatlon occurred In late July, about the same timearge shipment of Chinese arms arrived Id Kampuchea Thb may haveoderate expansion of China's military support for- Phnom Penh.
espite its strong show of support for Phnom Penh and Its private assurances to foreigners that tbe Kampucheans are able to withstand the continued fighting, Chinaneasy about the effect ofprolonged border war on the ability of thc present Kampuchean regime to survive. Although continued hostilities would drain Vietnamese resources, China must calculate thai Kampuchea would probably be dangerously weakened long before the strains on Vietnam reached urucceptsbie levels for Hanoi Peking is even more concerned about tho possibility of an escalation of the border war or the toppling of thc Pol Pot governmentetna mese-sponsored insurgent force inside Kampuchea.
ncreased Chinese support for Phnom Penh is probably intended primarily to enable the Kampu-choans to hold their.own against the Vietnamese. Peking appears to have ruled out the possibilityegotiated settlement for the tirne being Whatever thc degree of Chinese influence over the Kamp>ichean lea dethis it an area about which we knowprobably seeks to sustain the regime and maintain China's influenceependable ally without emboldening Kampuchea to take even mote provocative actions against the Vietnamese
hinese diplomatic activity in support of the Phnom Penh regime lias been made difficult by the Kampuchcans' own reluctance to broaden their international ties Peking facilitated tbe first, hesitant contacts bclween lhc Kampucliean leadcts and tome of their neighbors6hina was unwilling to press the Kampuchcans to settle their botdei dispute "ith the Thai Government, but the
urgency of (he lighting with Vietnam dm year apparently persuaded China In urge Kampuchea more strongly to seek some sort of diplomatic arrangement with Bangkok Peking also appears lo have been instrumental in preparing the way for improved tics between Phnom Penh and other capitab
Chinese efforts on behalf of ibe Kampucheans, however, are constrained In part by the regimes miserable human rights record Pubbc and private Chinese commentary refrain from praising lhe Kanv puchean style of rule. Occasionally Chinese officiab offer halfhearted escuses saiggestlng the problem is one of the consequences of lite threat Hanoi poses to Phnom Penh. Peking, nonetheless. Is dearly willing fo raise the issue privately with Kampucheans, jf only to encourage token gestures such as occasional references to the well-being of Prince Sihanouk and their publicity about hb recent public appearance.
Peking Is probably reluctant lo apply direct military pressure on Vietnam either by sending Chinese combat troops to Kampuchea or byajor show cf force along the Sine-Vietnamese border. Despite Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-p'ing's recent assert ionarge-scale military move against Kampuchea by Hanoi could lead to war between Vietnam and China and despite the occasional shallow intrusions by Chinese military aircraft intoairspace, China clearly ones not want to make Vietnam feel so threatened that Hanoiajor expansion of Soviet military presence in Vietnam. Nor does China want lo risk possible Soviet counter-pressures alonV; tlse Sino-Soviet border.
Chinese Economic and Military Aid
he deterioration of Sino-Vietnamese relations Is reflected in changes in thc amount and type of Chinese aid to, as well as Ihe nature of Chinas involvement with, the ihree Indochina states
5 China has been leas forthcoming with assistance for Vietnam than the USSR and East European countries, and Us recent suspension of economic aid will not cripple Vietnam's languishing economy. China began reducing iu aid to Vietnam as soon as thc war ended. It needed money lor its own modernization program, and Chinese leaders believed that Vietnam should become more self-reliant.aid was estimated to5 millionui diplomatic sources In llano) think that postwar aid fell to aboul MOO million annually. Repayment terms
were abo lew favorable. China's estimatedin annual trade with Vietnamreduced by more tlian
The bigest Chinese aid protect was const ructioneter rail, vehicle, and pedestrian UlcLgc to supplement present inadequate bridge and ferry service across the Red River near Hanoi China abo was helping lo improve rail and load systems in northern Vietnam, to construct or to cipand power plants, and to develop coal mines. Most of these petjjects, however, could be completed by other aid donors or by the Vietnamese themselves. Theof Chinese aid may uJtirnatdv eflect more Iveavlly live eoiuumer goods Industries, which Hanoi was expanding using Chinese help Switching to non-Chinese equipment and processes will be time consuming andSmall but neededprotects that used Chinese advisers orIncluded test lies, food products, pottery, medical supplies, stationery, and bscycie chains China abo gave limited acuta nee to the agricultural sector, consisting ul the developmentozen state farms and some small irrigation projects In the north. -
Chinese roadbuilding teams have been active in northern Laos (or lhe past IS years. (See map. pagelthough the major construction effort apparently was sharply reduced in latehe Chineae have not withdrawn entirdy Irom the area China has In effect createdsphere of influence in the provinces of Oudoouat. Phongsali, Louang Nam tha. and the northern part of Louangphrahung Although the eitent of Chinese Influence over local Laotiannclear, to abandon the area wouldacuum into which the Vietnamese could eipand their own influence. Peking had two consul-ales. Jn Oudomsai and rhortgsali. which il used to increase Its political and economic influence in the area. The Chinese Ambassador to Laos said in February that China had dosed the cumulate in Phongsali.
The Chinese-built reads improved com muniwithin the northern provinces and between them and China's Yunnan Province. Although these roads connectaotian road to the east, il will take atear lo upgrade them to all-weather roads Although Chinese roadbuilding crews apparently have been significantly reduced,^
"Jiheyareitill working on an all-wcatbei segment (ronTftsn Nambak to Louangphiabang that would also link the system to the rest of La'*
Chinese Constructed Road Network in Northern Laos
hinese aid irrhmciins'* remain So in ii thern Laos, some o( iSese probably aie working on this link.
slowdown in roadbulldins coincideddeterioration in Sino-Vietiumese relations,other Chinese economic aid to LaosLaos isillion loan2 million loan granted Into purchase Chinese consumer goods. Part ofloan is also being used to finance
is unclear whether the Chinese reducedactivity In responseaotianbecause thoy wanted to avoid potentialpro-Hanoi Laotian leaders. The Chinese mayIn no hurry tooad link" thatbenefit the Vietnamese bysphere of influence with the Vietnamesethat Iho reduction in activity was iuVietnamese military operations against insurgentsnorthern provinces cannot be confirmed andunfounded Although tbe Chinese arcthe degree of Vietnamese influenceleaders, ihcv have generally taken arestrained approach and have avoidedPeking apparently believes that little canfrom pulling pressure oo the Laotianbecause it has little freedom of action
Laotian leaders, although publicly siding with Hanoi in its dispute wiih Peking, have similarly sought lo play down diffeiertces with China and to maintain correct relations Although Laotian Communist off! ciuls charged in seminars held eailier this fall that the Chinese were supporting antircgime insurgents,leaders more recently backed away from these charges and continue lo avoid confiorrtations with Peking Should Chinaerious truest to its intcresls in Laos, it could support insurgents in northern Laos or even send militatv units into the aica
Vientiane, however, may feel little pressure from Hanoi totronger stand In the current Sino-Vietnamese dispute Even though the Vietnamese regularly emphsslw the "special relationship"Laos andhey probably want to maintain some semblance of Laotian inrJeperdence Moreover. Hanoi has never challenged China's special interests in non lie in Laos and may see little advantage
in further escalating its dispute with Peking bv doing so now.
he principal source of foreign aid to Kampuchea, although token amounts are received from North Korea. Romania, and Yugoslavia.rofound concern for economic self-sufficiency, Kampuchea still depends on foreign assistance to develop the modern sector of Its economy.ampuchea and China signed an economic and technical agreement for0 million of grant aid and technical assistance. Including bothand project aid.hinese aid commitments to Kampuchea totaledillion, much of It Ln commodity imports such as fuel, medicine, railroad equipment, and agricultural took. Another aidreportedly was signed inhe amount was notut it probablyontinuation of6 level, again with emphasis on commodity aid and small industry rcltabllftation. Chinese commodity aid. although highly concessiono be repaid In the form of raw material exports, notably rubber and wood. In addition lo economic aid, Chinaizable number of technical advisers, who serve throughout the country in small factories and In agricultural projects
By design and circumstances. Kampuchea's primitive agrarian economy with its limited small-scale Industry has maintained only minimal economic relations with the outside world The presenthas been content to maintain foreign economic contacts mainly with China and,uch lesser extent, with Hong Kong. Singapore, and Japan. Some trade also takes place with Yugoslavia. North Korea, and Romania.
It is impossible to estimate with any confidence the sine of the Chinese presence in Kampuchea.
3 alleged that ipuchea.r
China 0 troops in Kain;
^daints there are"Jaid in October0 Chineseperil are inerm lhat would also include construct inn workers
was thai tnercuu military and civilian aavisers. ai'I of these estimates are subject to biai. and we have no reliable means of checking them. We believe that the higher estimates for advisers are lets likely, if only because of the difficulty of using so many advisers effectively in picscnt-day Kampuchea.
hinese mlliluy advisers provide technical aisirtaoce and training, Including insttuction In smali-unit tactics and (light training, Init there la no evidence that they fight alongside Kampucbean troops. Chineae military assistance has apparently increased In recent months. In addition to earlier deliveries of small arms, ammunition, patrol boats, radats, andm guns, the Chinese this summer apparently sent light tanks, jet trainers, and possibly jetajor factor affecting thc amount and type of Chinese military aid fa the limited ability of Kampuchea's ground and air forces to absorb il.
THE USSR AND THE PRESENT SITUATION
ietnam and its Laotian client are tbe only countries In Southeast Asia willing to accept moreoken Soviet involvement In their countries The Soviet-Vietnamese relationship, however, lias longifficult one. based more on expediency than closeness ot identity of views. The Vietnamese list of grievances againsi tlie USSIl goes back several decades and Includes:
pressure on Hanoi to line up onide in the Sino-Soviet dispute.
subordination of Vietnameseconcerns to tbc larger Interests of tbe USSHis tbedemonstrated wlien thc SovieU received President Niton In the immediate aftermath of tlie mining of North Vietnam's harbors2
Failure to provide the Vietnamese with tbe quality of equipment being provided to tbeSovieU' non-Communut friends in the Middle East and South Asia.
Moscow, for IU part, has long privatelyof Vietnam's reluctance to accept Soviet advice arsd iu ingratitude for past Soviet economic and military assistance Soviet leaders are abo very mindful of thc lacl that Vietnam cannot with impunity ignore the wishes of ils powerful neighbor lo the north
Nonetheless, the Vietnamese COtnmunisU ate the USSR's only ical assets in lite region, and lhe Soviets hope that over time historic Si no-Vietnamese animosity will eventually turn Vietnamegional bulwark against the etpaiuion o( Chinese influence, and perhapsase for expanding Soviet influence in Southeast Aii.v
will give China pause before taking strong measures against Vietnam, even (hough lhe treaty docs not require Soviet military intervention.
The Soviets may now believe theyetter chance of obtaining naval access to Vietnamese port facilities. This would permit limited support for thc operations of their Indian Ocean squadron, and perhaps eventually even permit the establishmentmall naval presence In Southeast Asia. The Soviets would derive practical benefits from accessort on the South China Sea. in addition to wltatever intangible psychological advantage might accrue. Depending on tbc level ofacility in Vietnam-could increase the effectiveness of Pacific Fleet operations by shortening supply lines, enabling deccn-(rallied maintenance facilities, and reducing the vulnerability imposed by geographic constraints. In addition it would place Soviet naval forces on thc strategic sea lanes between the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific Ocean and much closer to American bases in thc Philippines and Guam. Access to facilities could also permit naval air reconnaissance of the Pacific Ocean and provide an expanded Soviet intelligence collection capability for monitoring China, particularly Chinese naval activity. Against the potential military advantages, however, (lie Soviets must also calculate tbe negative impact on relationson-Communist Southeast Asian states and thc United States.
Cam Ranh Bay was usedupply and communications base during the Vietnam War, but substantial construction work would be needed to convert Itignificant, permanent naval facility. The Soviets could upgrade the facilities more quickly byloating drvdock as thev did in Somalia.!
that, some time prior to
Moscow offered to help rebuild the naval facilities at
Cam Ranh Bay. Despite refugee reports that Soviet
teclmicians arc present a( Cam Ranh Bay and other
_3no evidence of new construction^
Ithe Vietnamese are dismantling much of
the warehouse and other storage facilities that
haye no evidence (hat the Soviets haveany merchant or naval privileges inno Soviet warship has ever called atport. There have been somethat Moscow is pressingaval visit
The Sovicls recently approached several non-Comruu-nis( countries in Southeast Asia about accepting naval visits, perhaps in an effort to minimize tlse impactirst Soviet naval vuit to Vietnam by portraying it as but onearger scries ol vblts.
The Soviets arc also concerned, Isowevcr. that an escalating Sino-Vietnamese confiontalion could create problems for thc USSR, especially as Soviet ability to influence events In Indochina is limited at best. In particular. Moscow would not want Stno-Vietnamese problems to reach (he point of bringing Sino-Soviet tension to an unacceptable level. Sino-Soviet competition for influence In Southeast Asia has increasedesult of the situation jn Indochina. Thus far this rivalry does not appear to have had much Impact on Sino-Soviet relations otlierwue;rdatibns. trade, and ongoing bilateralcontinue as before.
The Soviets are also concerned (hat Vietnam not act inay that other Southeast Asian countries fed threatened andesult move closer to Peking or strengthen security relationships with one another or (he West. Soviet propaganda vociferously supports Vietnam's efforts to improve relations with its non-Communist neighbors and to open consultations with China and Kampuchea. The Soviets probably approve Vietnam's current political and military ttelics for trying to bring the Kampucheans to heel, but Moscow almost certainly would advise against an all-out invasion of Kampuchea. The SovieU obviously wouldampucbean regime influenced by Vietnam to one influenced by China, but they probably hope that thb could be aceomplUhed inay that It appeared to be the result of internal Kampucbean forces. Nevertheless, the Soviets probably will endorse whatever Vietnam docs to resolve iu problems with Kampucliea.
Soviet Atulitory and Economic Aid
The Sovietsubstantial number of people in Vietnam, but most are involved in economic assistance. We estimate thatoviet personnel are cuirently there, including some embassy personnel, economic and militan advisers, technicians, and dependenu.
Soviet aid to Vietnam rince tbc end of theas been overwhelmingly economic. Immedi ately after tlse war the Soviets are believed to hav promised0 million in grant aid
rediU forSO Flvc-Year Plan. Moat of thb aid hu been allocated to specific protCCU. suchiihon -kilowatt hvaroeloclric protect in nortbcrn Vietnam. The SovieU continue, to provide commodity assistance In the form of wisest shipments; thev also supply the bulk of Vietnam's petroleum imports.
The USSR and iU East European allies will provide some additional economic assistance tofor the curtailment of Chinese aid. In eady November, thc USSR slimed several economic agree-ments with Vietnam. The Soviets specifically agreed to help complete the large. Chinese-sponsored bridge over the Red River near Hanoi In addition, the USSR will help make much-needed improvements toinadequate local and long-distance rail system, and increase thc training of Vietnamese technicians and skilled workers.
An Important factor in Vietnam's decision toull-fledged member of CEMA undoubtedlyelief that this would bring increased assistance. Hanoi had been an observer at CEMAut, as late asanoi was still resisting Soviet urging to Join CEMA. according to the Soviet Ambarsador in Hanoi Vietnam believed' membership wouldnot actually -compromise its sovereignty and hard-won independence snd .light adversely affect relations with China
members are cipccted to fill onlytlte economic gap left by the Chinese.facilitate the flow of bilateral aid and tradebut probably will not immediatelyloans under CEMA auspices Aid andalso lake place on more favorablecasing Vietnam's foreign exchangeEapcrt technical support liom CEMAeconomic plans should Improve lbInvestment prospects, and theof the Soviet bloc could improveamong Western banks that havelhal Hanoi would have difficultylarge credits it has tried to raise internationally
hat the USSR
has ottered to replace most, il not all. ofconomic aid technicians withdrawn by China. Vietnamese nationalism and concern about China's reaction will probably cause Hanoi to try to limit the number of Soviet personnel it acoepli
0 Vietnamese vocational, technical and academic students in the USSR are also returning Ivome, apparently to renlace departing Chinese. During August. Soviet passenger planes may have carried as manyietnamese back to Hanoi Vietnam is also actively searching for additional assistance from noo-Communistnot with muchhelp complete some abandoned Chinese rxofects
M. After the Indochina war, Vietnam had nearly SS billion in captured US equipment and had scant need of foreign military assistanceSoviet or Chinese Thc Soviets sharply curtailed their miliiary aid. Most aid sinceS has been ordnance, spare parts, and support to maintain previously supplied equipment
e estimate that tlie USSR has7 million worth of nillltary equipment to Vietnam thus farnd ud ing radarsrge quantity of military-related ground forces equipment. Most of thc equipment probably was replacement items for worn-out or obsolete equipment, and it probably was on order before last fall when the border war with Kampuchea erupted. Although there are some signs of new commitments, recent reportsarge Increase In Soviet military aid deliveries cannot beestern diplomat in Moscow reportedigh-ranking Vietnamese military delegation visited the USSR in late July, and there is some evidence lhat thc Sovlels recently raised the level of representation of their military mission in Hanoi, which may presage greater Soviet involvement in Vietnam. Soviet seaborne shipments of military aid to Vietnam, however, aie not appreciably higher at present than the level of Soviet shipmenU over the past three years
oviet economic assistance to Laos has been In the lorm of protect aid for Industry, transportation, medical facilities, and agr "culture, as well as com mod Hy aid comprising largely foodstuffs, doth, and other consumer goods. After thc Communist takeover of Laos, thc SovieU were asked to staff and maintain the lactian civil aviation system. Thc Soviets stillignificant role, although laotiansare being trained in the USSR as pilots, navigators, and maintenance technicians Recent aid commitments include lOOaOgi-cal prospecting rjperatrons, high-voltage electransmission lines, and brick and cement factories. The Soviets have also provided the fundi to train large
numbers of Laotians In lhe USSH;rc there -now.
In addition to the approaimatelymillion In economic aid committed to Laos by ibe SovieUillion agreement, including aviation supplies and training, was apparently negotiated inotab for Soviet economic and military aid7 are not known, but atillion in economic loans and granU was provided last year Estimates of the number of Soviet advisers vary widely, but there probably are.
The USSR has altoajor supplier of military and technical assistance to Laos. Tlse most significant shipment of Soviet equipment was the7 delivery ofour moreumber of Ml-fi helicopters delivered to Vietnam ibis year apparently arc" ulumitcly destined for Laos. L
3*Mo"tfl' Laotian pilots arc now flying then Laos. Soviet personnel there are erpectcd toajor role In operation and maintenance for some time to come The Soviets have also helped upgrade the Laotian Army. Tluiy have provided trucks and small arms; have helped organ ire lhe Laotian intelligence and security services; and are helping to establish communications and radar systems.
that Vietnam exercisesover Laos, the Soviets have generallytlse Vietnamese in dealing withSoviet aid was largely channeledowever, increased amounUflown directly to Laos, perhaps incomplainUolian offictab of shortagesthat transited Vietnam. Aeroflota cargo flight to Vientiane viacould deliver up toons of cargo each week
he high level of tension ihat has developed between Peking and Hanoi over the past year will not die quickly and relations may deteriorate further Although little It known about the debate that may have occurred wllltln the Chinese and Vtclnamwc Politbutos as tclulioru dcterioiatcd. presumably some leaders in both capltab pielerrcd reconciliation tos conceivable that in the future mote tnoderate voices may carry the day. Until then, China will peobably continue lo pursue its (wopronard
strategy of open poliiical and economic pressure against Hanoi coupled with strong support for Kampuchea in the border war with Vietnam.
s part of this strategy. Peking can and probably will resortumber of measures to remind Hanoi of China's Influence and capabilities In the region.nlikely lo initiate Urge-scale armed conflict, although some localized tiirmbiting may occur. More likely measures include further reduction, and possibly termination, of trade; other economic sanctions, such as denying Vietnam the use of Chinese facilities for International communications and air service; increased political pressure, including diplomatic attempts to convince other countries, especially in Southeast Asia, to reduce tbdr dealings with Vietnam; andore aggressive assertion of Cninese claims to Islands In the South China Sea and parts of tbe cootineaatal shelf disputed by Vietnam.
The continuing deterioration in Sino-Vietnam-ese relations, coupled with increased Chinese support for Phnom Penh, presents Hanoieries of Interrelated policy problems At the Fourth Party Congress inietnamese leaders set national integration and reconstruction along socialist lines as the primary national objectives. Tbe military was loey role in economic development, particularly in heavy construction snd clearing land for new farms. According to Vietnameseowever, the conflictuchea has diverted men and resources from these tasks and the economy ii suffering. We cannoi quantify thc impact, but in September the National Assembly Standingrevised the economic plan and budget8 "on the basis of the newhe most direct effect will probably be on plans to Increase food production through ctealion of new agricultural settlements, bui overall economic growth may abo be slighdy retarded
Vietnam had initially sought to negotiate its border differences with Kampuchea, but (he Phnom Penh regime showed no interestcnioi Vietnamese official went to Peking apparently to try to resolve Hanoi's problems with Kampuchea and China, again wiih no success. With both of these avenues blocked and with China and Vietnam arguing bitterly over other issues, Hanoi now seems to have abandoned all hope of reaching an acceptable com promise wiih Ihe present Kampucbean leader ship and probably is embarkedong-term effort loore malleable regime lo power in Phnom Penh
ietnamard choice In dealing with tbe problem presented by Kampuchea. Il Hanoiiliiary drive on Phnom Penh. Il rum the rfilf of greater Chinese retaliation, possibly Including the use of force- Moreover, such action would revive (ears of Vietnamese erpansionism elsewhere In the region, jeopardizing the diplomatic gains Hanoi has made in Southeast Asia In the last year and perhaps potential aid from non-Communist states as well To do leas, however,rolonged continuation of the prosentbitter border war that drains Vietnam's already stretched resources and slows economic reconstruction
sanol's present strategy Is to conduct limited military operations to destroy Kampuchean main force units In the border area whilehmer irregular force to subvert the Phnom Penh regime. Vietnam is recruiting and training at an antigovcrnmcnt force some of the moreefugees, prisoners of war. and ether Khmer now In Vietnam. Although Hanoi played the key role03 In developing the ragtag Communist insurgent movement in Kampuchea Into an effective or gani ration.y no means certainietnamese-initiated resistance movement couldmuch support within Kampucliea,ere perceivedreature of Hanoi
ur knowledge of political and securityinxtremely limited, but we have no evidence tliat the Pol Pot resjlrne's control of thc country has weakened Nevertheless, we cannot completely rule out that dramatic destabilizingcould occur. Forajoroffensive, much larger Ihan any so far, couldout of Kampuchean military units and pave the wayhange of government in Phnom Penh It is difficult to forecast trie political complexionovernment that attained power under suchbul it would not necessarilyietnamese puppet. It is likely, however, thlt il wouldess belligerent attiludc toward Vietnam Vietnam almost certainly would hope eventually tospecial rrrlatioriship" with the new regime, but Vietnam couldampuclman regime with dose lies to China as long as it ceased provocative actloiu along tin-border. China's reaction to lhc installalionew regime would depend upon how it came to power and its orientation Peking would coniinue dose relationsovernment that dntired to quid live dispute
with Hanoj if il were clearly an ifdejxndera-rrunded regime
it open breakdown of political unity in Phnom Penh and/or large-scale uprisings in the countryside, however, might tempt Hanoi lo move with whatever force necessary toriendly regime. Vietnam would have to consider the risk posed by China's reaction to an all-out invasion and the posrsbuity of becoming bogged downong and costly guerrilla war Inside Kampuchea. Thc capture of Phnom Penh could well leave government leaders and much of the armed forces at Urge in the iungle to continue guerrilU warfare against long, cfposed Vietnamese supply lines. Despite the crccsses of the Pol Pot government, the depth of Khmer racial animosity toward the Vietnamese and the tenacity of Kampu-chem forces during tlie current fighting demonstrate that Vietnam would Incur considerable cost from any attempt lo occupy Kampuchea
would support Kampucheanin oppositionietnameseand some Chinese oifieiab havethe possibility that the Pol Pot regimeforced to return to the iungle if Phnom Penh fellVietnamese If ihu happened, however,would be largely verbal China has noroute along which to ship supplies touse of air or sea routes would poseof direct Chinese irrvolverrtent in the fighting.
a boilemma about thelor dealing with (lieflier, which even at its presentikely todamaging to Kampuchea in lhe end thanRecause China's primary objective uVietnamese domination of Indochina.saddled with supportampuchean regimea public reUtions disaster. Moreover. China'seierl significaiil influence on lhc regimeils policies or loegotiatedVietnam is probably very limitedmightess belligerent leadershipPenh, the diances that Peking couldi faction and engineer Its succession to powersiim, andell aware thai theengendered could lead to unknownmore adverse to China's interests .AsChina will probably continue its presentactive support foi the Pol Pot governmentis
while encouraging Phnom Penh to improve its international image.reat degree, however. China's policy will have to beaptive ol decisions made In Phnom Penh and Hanoi.
I( the Vietnamese-Katnpucheanoint which seemed to threaten thc independence and stability of Phnom Penh. China would have no real satisfactory course of action. Kampuchea's limited ability to absorb additional aid would mean that China could markedly increase Kampuchean effectivenessis Vietnam only by increasing the number and involvement of its own personnel. We do not believe, however, that China would send combat troops to Kampuchea under any circumstances. China Is left, therefore, with essentially three courses of action.
China could greatly increase aid to Phnom Penh, despite the attendant problems of its effective use. Thb also poses the risk, however, of emboldening thc Kampucbean leadership to provoke Hanoi even further. It could also lead to greater Vietnamese dependence on thc USSR for political and military support and therefore lo greater Soviet involvement in Vietnam.
China could try to distract Vietnamese attention from Kampucheahow of force along the Chinese border with Vietnam. While this would certainly affect the paue of fighting along the Vietnamese-Kampuchean border, it would also pose the kind of security threat to Vietnam that could lead Hanoi toarked increase of thc Soviet military presence in Vietnam and might abo leadoviet counter show of force along the Sino-Soviet border. China nonetheless might considerove if it concluded that Vietnam had already passed thc point of no return Inlose military relationship with the USSR.
China's third option would be to continue support at about the same level, letting the chips fall where they might and hoping to capitalize politically and diplomatically in thc long run. Should Vietnam (lien overthrow thc Pol Pot government. Peking could use the eventarning to other Southeast Asian leaders about Vietnamese "regional hegemoniirn" and thc potential for increased Soviet inroads in the area China would hope to draw some of the other Southeast Asian stales closer to Peking or at least to heighten their concern about Soviet designs. China, on the other hand, would lose credibility, and some states might
conclude that China was Impotent to support its claims to Influence in the region.
The most likely beneficiary of the current situation in Indochina, at least over the short term, fa the USSR. It will certainly Increase its Influence in Vietnam, givingoehold in Southeast Asia, where its presence is otherwise weak to nonexistent Moreover, the Soviets will haveartner the state that fa potentially, one of tbe strongest and most important In the region. To the extent the Soviets gain in Vietnam, however, they may lose elsewhere In the region.
Moscow undoubtedly will seek political and perhaps military concessions from Hanoi in return for political support, military aid, and picking up China's portion of Hanoi's foreign aid needs. It Is unlikely, however, that Moscow wiU succeed In turning Hanoi into the "Cuba of the East" as China claims. Vietnamese officiabQ
not want to become overly dependent on thc Soviets. To this end. Vietnam fa already actively seeking aid from non-Communist sources. While the Vietnamese have liad only limited success so far, the history ofyear revolution strongly suggests that Vietnam would tighten its belt before acceding to Soviet demands it found excessive.
At this point, the Vietnamese-Sovietfa based largely on their mutual opposition to China snd on Vietnam's need for aid- From past experience, Moscow probably realizes that increased aid docs not mean unlimited influence, and Hanoi can have few illusions about its relative priority among Soviet global foreign policy interests. Despite the large amounts of Soviet aid already supplied or promised to Hanoi. Sovietno better informed about Vietnam's relations wifh China and Kampuchea than anyone else In Hanoi. Vietnam is very willing to support Soviet foreign policy goals In areas where Hanoi has little interest, such as Africa and the Middle East, and Hanoi can be expected to become an even more vocal supporter of Moscow in live Stno-Soviel dispute and of compatible Soviet foreign policy objectives.
There are circumstances in which Hanoi mighlimited military presence or Soviet access lo air or navalerious escalation ol pressure by China or greater rcQubements for foreign aid lor Vietnam might cause Hanoi lo allow Soviet naval
wicshlpi to visit Vietnamese ports Depending on tlie reactions of concerned coootrios and Hanoi'sof its interests, thb could be expanded to Include access to limited repletiUhmeot and repair facilities and perhaps permission to state naval reconnaissance aircraft. The Vietnamese are ardikely to grant the Soviets any formal base tights, and, indeed, party mem ben have been told that Hanoi turnedoviet request In6 loaval base al Cam Ranh Bay.
t is already dear to Vietnam that its close relations with tlse USSRiability in pursuing its own foreign policy goals, particularly improved lies with the non -Com munist Southeast Asian states. Some of tlsem already see Hanoitalling-hone for Moscow, and Vietnam's willingness to sign aand cooperation treaty with Moscow reinforced these suspicions. During Vietnamese Premier Pham Van Dong's visit to Southeast Asian capltab thb fall be sought to counter such fears and to stress the independence of Vietnamese foreign policy. He was only partly successful, and Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Firyubln's visit lo Southeast Asia so soon afterward could undercut any success Pham Van Dong achieved.
ach of the parties to the Indochinaow engagediplomatic campaign to court the non-Communlsl states of Southeast Asia, particularly the members of (be Association of Southeast Asian NationsMalaysia. Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines. Hanoi, wliich had once denounced ASEAN as an allegedly anti-Vktnatnese security arrangement, has begun cautiously praising thc group and suggesting lhal Hanoi is interestedialogue with it Premier Pham Van Dong's swing through non Communist Southeast Asia in September and8 underscoies Vietnam's change of policy. On his best behavior at each stop, Dong pressed for expanded Iu lateral relations while trying to reassure hb hosts that Vietnam has no as intentions toward other stales in the area
oviet Deputy Foreign Minister Firyubuicompleted hb second trip to Southeast Asia in lestear, evidence ol Moscow's hope that it can profit Irom the changing situation. The Soviets are also seeking expanded bilateral lies with Southeast Asian States: die Thai Prune Minister was issoexstly Invited to visit Moscow, and other Southeast Asianay
abo soon receive invitations. Firyubin cmphasiied Moscow's desire for closer relatioiu and followed up on Soviet proposab for economic and military assistance, expanded commercial, cultural, and educationaland naval visits. Altliough (he Southeast Asians are Interested In espanded commercial tics with thc USSR, they responded riegaUvcly toroposab (or Soviet naval port visits and closer cultural and economic cooperation
ampuchea and China lave launchedcampaigns of their own designedoo the ASEAN states. Kampucliean Vice Premier (oralrs leng Sary visited the Philippines and Indonesia in October, lie presented Phnom Penh's version of iu dispute with Vietnam and cluuged Hanoi with intervention In Kampucbean internal aHalrs.is abo trying to ease tensions with Thailand and expand ties with other stales in the region as well as Improve Its international Image generally. Chinese Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-pins touted Thailand. Malaysia, and Singapore in early November to ptescnt China's case for an independent Kampuchea and lo warn against the alleged double threat Vietnam poses as an expansionist regional powertalking-horse for the USSR He abo tried lo arouse suspicion! about Pham Van Dong's promise (list Vietnam will not support insurgencies in Southeast Asia Teng probablypedepair any damage to China's Image ihat may have resulted from its confrontation with Vietnam, particularly oversensitise issue of oveiseas Chinese.
espite the fact that, thus far, all sides are trying to win their favor, the non Communist Stales of Southeast Asia view ihe uuloldiug events in Indochina with mixed emotions. Regional hopes to keep the lid on great-power maneuvering and rivalry In Southeast Asia over the longer run liave been set back by the. open confrontation between China and Vietnam. The Southeast Asians worry, not without some fusliflcalion. that as China and the USSH play for influence in tlie legion, lhe vanous states will come under greater pressure lo lake sides. Such pressures might be manifested only in diplomatic and political channeb. such as strong pressute from each sideccept tokens ol fricndslup Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines, which have active Communist irisurgencies open to outside support, (ear lhal Sino-Soviet rivalry could be manifested in more coneietc terms throughlo control llmse movements. Although (hb might lie more damaging to tlse insurgent movements themselves over the aboil term, it could also lead to
greater violence and Instability in lhe areas in which Ihe insurgencies operate
hina's Undent support for Vietnam's oveiseas Chinese community during the recent confrontation certainly aroused latent fears about China's intentions in other Southeast Asian stales which also haw; large overseas Chinese communities. During his visit. Tens no doubt tried to reassure them that lhe Vietnam case does not presage intervention by Peling in their own communal problems, but this may be difficuli to do Indonesia. Singapore, and Malaysia, In particular, have always harbored doubts about China's professions of rsorUnterference in lhe internal affairs of other states when the ethnic Chinese in those states are concerned These states have always considered local Chinese communities to be potential fifth columns
Hot her Southeast Assamertain sympathy for Vietnam's actions against its Chinese residents. States such as Malaysia, which have permitted Chinese embassies, suspect thai these embassies serve as focal points lor subversionand Singapore, which have resisted Chinese bla.iduhmenls to normaliie diplomatic relations, arc probably reconfirmed in their wariness.
lthough China represents the closestmost immediate security concern.states do not want to see the presentto the point that Vietnam becomes aof influence in thc region. In particular, theyabout the prospectsovietin Vietnam. The recently signed treatyand cooperation between lhe USSRis certain to intensifylhe
immediate aftermath of llse Indochina war. some ASEAN states hoped to close the area lo great-power rivalry by obtaining an internseclaration of the areaone of Peace, Freedom, and Neutrality to I- guaranteed by the gieut powers themselves. Other states, however, believed that, as the local states were loo weak lo enforceone, ihey should notourse that would lequire withdrawal of US bases Irom tho aiea and open thc way for uncliocked Soviet military influence
side from thc implications for great-power rivalry in lhe area, llse Southeast Asian states diaw comfort from seeing thc Communist states ol Iiido-cliiiu fight iii* among themselves.outheast Asian leaders worried about the prospects that lhe momentumictoriout Hanoi might translate Into
support for insurgencies elsewhereSoutheast Asia. These immediate concerns faded as It became clear lhat Vietnam was preoccupied with domestic matters and was neither eipanding lis support for Communist insurgents in Thailand nor seeking to establish lies to other insurgent groups In Soul heist Asia. Southeast Asian leaders estimated thai they would have five yean to put their own houses in order before they would have to dealew. strong Vietnam desiring to spread its Influence in the area. These leaden now believe that the conflicts with Kampucliea and China will further retard Vietnam's ability toegional power by setting back its ecooceiic and political iccorutruction programs
n the other hand. If lhe present regime In Kampuchea were replaced with one lubservient to Hanoi and particulariy II this happened thtough obvious Vietnamese Intervention, the impact on the Southeast Asian leaden would be far reaching. These leadenietnamese control led Indochinahreat to the stability ol the area. Vietnam's effort to nurture an Image of restraint would be undermined and Southeast Asian fears5 that Vietnam sough! to dominate the whole region would be sharply revived. Their reaction would probably be similar to thatome states, such as Malaysia, might renew the campaign to declare theeutral rone, hoping thereby to contain lhe threatened spread of Communist influence. Othen, such as Indonesia, would probably press for greater ioint security inangements among the ASEAN states and altoenewed commitment that the United States would maintain its military presence in the area. All Southeast Asian leaders would probably seekthat the United States and other Western powers wouldtrong interest in the area poht ically and economically In order to help thc local states maintain their Independence in the faceotentially more aggressive Vietnam sponsored by lhe USSR.
or the Southeast Asians. Ihe situation in Indochina has the potential to disrupt the stability of tbe whole region with porsibty far-reaching conse-quenecs for every state, and there is little they can do directly to influence the situation. Thev will continue to try lo strengthen their own domestic positions economically and politically and improve cooperation among themselves in the hope thev will not present opportunities for outside meddling in their -affalts At the same time, they will try to maintain evenhanded relations with all parties to the dispute.
lat mns wiih China detei .oiated. Hanoi has expressed increased intcicsl in establishing diplomatic tics with tho United States. Hanoi has dropped its format demand for war reparations, further evidence of tbe importance il now attaches lo mpioenalic relations. Economicmajor consideration from the beginning in Hanoi's desire for diplomatic relations with the Unitedis also an increasingly important consideration, given tbe terminalion of Chinese aid and increased dependence on the USSR, beyond these immediate objectives. Ihc Vietnamese would probably regard lhe establishment of an American embassy in Hanoi as evidence of the regime's international acceptance.
One interpretation of the Vietnamese desire forhatevelopment would help lo offset pressures from both China and thc USSR Thisoint that Vietruunese officials have made in discussions with foreign visitors, rtresslng ihat the involvement of thc Uniled States in Indochina would create an essentiallyworld- and enhance Hanoi's freedom of action
Thc Chinese have clearly indicated that they would prefer ihat the United States not reeognlie Vietnam at present Chinese leader- have assertedr
M normalization would only serve diluting Ibe image of Vietnam's political and military dependence on thc USSR. In particular, thc Chinese argue that l( American recognition brought Vietnam economic benefit, thb would play into Soviet hands by lessening thc burden" on the USSR. Nevertheless, ihc Chineae have avoided directly asking (hc Uniled Stales noi lo
recognize Vietnam; they have not Jinked thc issue of recognition to any bilateral aspect of Slivo-US relations; and ihey have not portrayed thc matterest of American sincerity. Although thc Chinese might register theiri US recognition of Vietnam, we believe such action would net interfere seriously with the evolution of the Si no US
Soviets for their part have siid iheyestablishment of relations between VietnamUnited Slates. The Soviets may believeAmerican involvement in Indochinalimit the extension of Chinese influence inThey probably abo hope thatin lhe present circumstances willfor US-Chinese relations. Moscowdoes not believe that an American presencewill significantly reduce whatever Influencehave in Vietnam. The Soviets probablyeven though the normalization ofmight facilitate economic assistance from the West, Vietnam would still
, depend on the USSR for the bulk of lis economic and all of Its miliiary assistance. Tbe deterioration of Si no-Vietnamese relations, moreover, will only Increase that dependence
establishment of diplomatic relationsWashington and Hanoi would probablyaffect US relations with other states inSoutheast Asian leaders haveS diplomatic presence in Hanoi.It would acttabilizing influence andcountcrweighl to increased Soviel