China: Enmity at Friendship Pass

A village bears the burden of Sino-Vietnamese hostilities

In a burst of wartime solidarity, the People's Republic of China once declared that its friendship with Viet Nam was as close as "lips and teeth." But after their common foe, the U.S., withdrew its troops from Southeast Asia in 1973, the toothy smiles between Peking and Hanoi gradually turned to frowns. Today, says a Chinese official, the relationship is one of "rifles to rifles and artillery to artillery." Nowhere is that hostility more evident than along the 800-mile border between the two countries. TIME Peking Bureau Chief David Aikman was among a...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

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