Southeast Asia: Bullets and Broadsides

Amid conflicting claims, China and Viet Nam clash on the border

Near Dong Dang, a Vietnamese hamlet less than a mile from the Chinese border, scores of small, one-person artillery shelters have been dug into the lush hillsides. On one rise, a Soviet-made anti-aircraft missile points at the mountains beyond the frontier. The border area is dotted with gun emplacements and camouflaged trucks, and swarms with bare-chested Vietnamese troops. In the middle of a nearby road, two 6-ft.-deep craters mark the points where Chinese artillery shells exploded earlier this month.

Dong Dang is only one of many villages on both sides of...

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