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Indo-China on the Razor's Edge

Courtesy Reuters

INDO-CHINA began to attract the attention of most Westerners only last year, after the nationalist revolution there against French rule had already been oriented toward the Soviet bloc. The area--two vast river delta plains linked by a mountainous spine with a total population of about 28,000,000--is strategically more important than Korea, for it is the bridge over which Communist China hopes to penetrate unstable and restless South Asia.

The struggle in Viet-Nam is between the French-sponsored Bao Dai Government, supported by an army of 150,000 troops, part French and part native, and the Ho Chi Minh Government, representing a Communist-led nationalist movement, known as Viet-Minh (League for the Independence of Viet-Nam), supported by Moscow and Peiping. When the victorious Chinese Communist forces reached the Indo-Chinese border in December 1949, the French garrison was ordered to seal off the frontier. The French hoped the Viet-Nam army would remain a guerrilla force that could

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