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By Nayan Chanda

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Neither China nor Vietnam nor the Philippines had, however, effectively occupied them for any length of time. Until the late 1950s, when the South Vietnamese government did not contest China's claims to the islands , North Vietnam-an ideological ally and a recipient of Chinese aidthought it only wise to accept Chinese rights as well. But after 1959, when the first incident erupted between Saigon and Peking over the Spratlys and Paracels, Hanoi consistently avoided backing China by simply staying silent on the issue.

His efforts to get the United States to talk to the prince and bring about a compromise solution, however, had failed. Two years later, when the United States had finally removed Lon Nol from Cambodia and asked the prince to return to his homeland, the Khmer Rouge guerrillas were close to final victory. The chief of the U. S. liaison mission in Peking, George Bush, asked him through the French embassy to take over the leadership of a neutral Cambodia. On April II the United States made him a formal offer to fly back to Phnom Penh on a Chinese plane and take over the leadership.

12 In the summer of 1976, China was too preoccupied with its own internal power struggles to counter the Vietnamese diplomatic thrust by anything other than veiled propaganda broadsides. Since late 1973, the Chinese Politburo had been deeply divided. On one side were those who supported the pragmatic line of Zhou, which sought to offset the Soviet threat by cooperation with the United States. Opposing them were the radicals led by Zhang Chunqiao and Wang Hongwen , who called for opposition to both superpowers and advocated support for all anti-imperialist armed struggles .

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