Comrades at enmity: Pyongyang-Hanoi split after the fall of Saigon


Do Dieu Khue

Cold War History, 2021

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Abstract: This paper unveils the accumulated tensions and conflicts in North Korean-Vietnamese relations in the late 1970s. From diplomatic competition to ideological gap, the once comrades-in-arms found themselves gradually drifting apart. But it was not until Vietnamese troops entered Cambodia that the traditional friendship was severely damaged. Economic cooperation deteriorated due to the North’s criticism of Vietnam and Kim Il Sung’s support for Democratic Kampuchea. Still, this paper emphasizes that a key source of the Pyongyang-Hanoi discord lay in their mutual perceptions and evaluations of each other’s accomplishments in nation-building and achieving reunification.

About the author: Do Dieu Khue was a HYI New Approaches in Asia-Pacific Historical and Contemporary Studies Training Program Visiting Fellow from 2019-20.