The World: Storm in the China Sea
Dưới đây là bản tin ngắn được đăng trong Times Magazine ngày thứ Hai, 04 tháng 2 năm 1974 nói về cuộc chiến đấu tại quần đảo Hòang Sa ngày 19/01/1974 của lực lượng hải quân Việt Nam Cộng Hòa chống lại lực lượng hải quân xâm lược của Trung Cộng.
The World: Storm in the China Sea
Monday, Feb. 04, 1974 TimesMagazine
Replete with dueling navies, commando landing parties and sinking vessels, the scenario that unfolded last week in the South China Sea recalled gunboat diplomacy of bygone years. The clash was between South Viet Nam and China over the 50 or so tiny, nearly uninhabited reefs, shoals and atolls that make up the Paracel archipelago, about 200 miles east of Viet Nam. For two days the fighting was intense, but the outcome was never in doubt. Chinese troops claimed the islands last week in the name of Chairman Mao.
The conflict began when South Viet Nam's Foreign Minister Vuong Van Bac accused China of landing military personnel and civilians and raising its flag on Duncan Island in the Paracels. Bac declared that the Chinese action was "a sudden challenge" to South Viet Nam's sovereignty over the islands, and pointed out that Saigon has maintained a meteorological station on neighboring Pattie Island for decades. The South Vietnamese government ordered two of its 2,800-ton coastal cutters and four smaller ships to the Paracels to shadow a Chinese flotilla of seven ships including Komar-class gunboats equipped with Russian-made Styx surface-to-surface missiles. The Vietnamese then landed a commando team on Duncan Island and cut down the Chinese flag. According to Peking, shells from Vietnamese ships killed and injured a number of Chinese fishermen who were on the island. Saigon, however, maintains that the Chinese fired first, killing several Vietnamese commandos.
Chinese and Vietnamese naval ships exchanged fire for the next 48 hours. The Chinese flotilla was supported by MIG warplanes based on Hainan Island 200 miles to the north. At least one Vietnamese ship was sunk, and 122 Vietnamese were killed or captured. Although Saigon claims to have sunk two Chinese ships (Peking has refused comment), all Vietnamese were driven from the Paracels and Saigon Radio admitted defeat.
Throughout the conflict, the U.S. maintained a strict hands-off policy, but nonetheless an American did reluctantly become involved. Gerald Emil Kosh, 27, a Department of Defense civilian employee in Viet Nam who reported to the Pentagon on the performance of the South Vietnamese navy, was aboard one of the Vietnamese ships when the fighting erupted. For safety's sake he was put ashore on Pattle Island, but Chinese troops overran the island and captured Kosh.
Peking insists that its legal right to the Paracels dates back 2,000 years, to the Han dynasty. Saigon traces its claim back to the reign of Vietnamese Emperor Gia Long at the beginning of the 19th century. Whatever the legalities. Western analysts were surprised that China regarded the Paracels as important enough to warrant the use of arms, especially when Peking has been portraying itself as a peaceful member of the Asian community. Certainly neither the guano deposits nor swallows' nests nor tortoise shells nor edible sea slugs that constitute the islands' sole resources could have prompted the Chinese to use force. More likely, they may want to stake an early claim to potential oil reserves under the sea bed near both the Paracels and the Spratly Islands farther south. For the same reasons, of course, Saigon also covets those regions.
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,908427,00.html#ixzz0iZcifaL7