A War of Angry Cousins

China's 'punitive action "against Viet Nam has global implications

Dong Dang. Lang Son. Blunt yet musical Vietnamese place names, redolent of history, blood and death. At the railhead city of Dong Dang, a 30-ft. yellow gate marks Japan's invasion of Indochina in 1940, which prompted President Franklin Roosevelt's perhaps apocryphal vow that "we will not go to war over any damn Ding Dong." At Lang Son, a crowded market town nine miles to the southeast, a nipple-crested mountain that colonial troops named the "baroness's breast" overlooks the ruins of a fort demolished even before...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!