Paris Peace Accords

The Cold War in Asia

East Asia 1973.0127

Paris Peace Accords

Korean War, Indochina War, Vietnam War, Invasion of Tibet, Mao Zedong (27 January 1973)

Historical Map of East Asia & the Western Pacific

By the late 1960s, US public opinion had swung strongly against involvement in the Vietnam War, a stance exacerbated when involvement spread to Laos and Cambodia. Meanwhile, the People's Republic of China clashed with the Soviet Union, improving China's relations with the US and eliminating the US fear of a single Communist bloc gaining control of Asia. These factors led to US President Nixon agreeing to withdraw from Vietnam and arranging the Paris Peace Accords, a cease fire between all parties.

Main Events

Bonin Islands restored

United States restores Bonin and Volcano Islands to Japan

Sino-Soviet border conflict

On 2 March 1969, the People's Liberation Army ambushed Soviet border guards on disputed Zhenbao Island, leading to a seven-month undeclared military conflict between the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. Although fighting around Zhenbao Island ended by late March, tensions remained high, with further clashes occurring on the western border - between Xinjiang and Kazakh SSR - in August. The war ended on 11 September when border negotiations were reopened between the two countries.

Cambodian coup

A right-wing coup by Prime Minister Lon Nol overthrew the regime of Prince Sihanouk in Cambodia.

Bangladeshi Liberation War

In response to the Pakistani junta's oppressive and genocidal rule, East Pakistan declared independence as the nation of Bangladesh (often also called 'Bangla Desh' at the time). On 3 December, India entered the war in support of the Bangladeshi guerrilla forces, rapidly bringing the conflict to a close and leading the Pakistanis to surrender in Dhaka. At the cost of as many as three million civilian deaths, Bangladesh was independent.

Nixon visit to China

United States President Richard Nixon visited the People's Republic of China, ending over 24 years of separation between the two states and allowing the American public to see images of mainland China for the first time in a generation. The trip shifted the balance in the Cold War, aligning the PRC and the US against the Soviet Union. As a result of the visit, the PRC agreed to a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question, although the US would not end official ties with the Nationalists in Taiwan until it established full diplomatic relations with China in 1979.

Ryukyu Islands restored

After a formal agreement reached on 17 June 1971, the United States ended its Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands and restored sovereignty over the island chain to Japan. By this action, the US relinquished control over the last piece of Japanese territory it had occupied following World War II. The US would continue to maintain military bases in Japan, in particular the main Ryukyu island of Okinawa.

Paris Peace Accords

The United States, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and the Provisional Revolutionary Government (Viet Cong) signed the Paris Peace Accords. This treaty established a ceasefire in Vietnam, allowing the US to withdraw and end its direct military involvement in the conflict there. The accords also pushed for a negotiated peaceful reunification of Vietnam and democratic elections, although this agreement would soon fall apart as North and South Vietnam resumed fighting.

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