This introductory chapter begins with a brief discussion of the lack of scholarship and understanding about the People's Republic of China's (PRC) invasion of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) in 1979. The official rationale gave no satisfactory answer to historians and analysts looking for deeper explanations while existing studies suffered from a lack of documentation from both the PRC and SRV. The chapter then sets out the book's purpose, which is to address many of the questions that scholars of modern Chinese studies and international security have asked with added insights from new and previously unavailable documentation and evidence from China. These questions include: Why did the PRC attack the SRV in 1979? What were Beijing's objectives in the 1979 invasion and in its border conflict with the SRV during the 1980s? What factors eventually contributed to the conclusion of the Cold War between the two communist countries in Asia? It retraces the thirteen years of hostility between China and Vietnam, arguing that two countries' previously intimate relationship was far more fragile than it appeared. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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