A ceremony to rebury the remains of Vietnam's voluntary experts and soldiers who laid down their lives in the national protection war in the southwestern border (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – Leading experts and scientists of Vietnam gathered at a symposium in Ho Chi Minh City on April 5 to look into some issues about the war defending the country in the southwestern border.

The event was organised by the Vietnam Association of Historical Sciences, the University of Social Sciences and Humanities under the Vietnam National University - HCM City, and the HCM City Association of Historical Sciences.

In the opening remarks, Chairman of the HCM City Association of Historical Sciences Prof. Dr Vo Van Sen affirmed that Vietnam’s move came from the legitimate demand for self-defence. Facing the provocation of the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime in the southwestern border, Vietnam exercised utmost restraint and showed the goodwill and the wish for peaceful and friendly cooperation between the nations.

That Vietnam’s voluntary soldiers came to Cambodia to perform the international duty was necessary to prevent the recovery of the genocidal regime, which was confirmed by Cambodian leaders later, he noted.

More than 50 reports sent to the symposium and opinions of experts and scientists clarified the necessity and inevitability of the war protecting Vietnam in the southwestern border (1977 – 1979). They made clear that the war (before January 7, 1979) and Vietnam’s international mission in Cambodia (1979 – 1989) are two different issues which had different historical backgrounds, causes and developments but were logically connected.

At the event, participants also proved that the war in the southwestern border was directly linked with the national protection war in the northern border, and that the fights greatly changed Vietnam’s international relations and affected the country’s post-war situation.

Assoc. Prof. Dr Tran Ngoc Long, former Deputy Director of the Military History Institute of Vietnam, said these historical events should not be considered as two separate fights but they should be called the “war to protect the Fatherland in the two ends of the border”.

Many other participants said the national protection war in the southwestern border happened as fast as a self-defending counter-attack of the Vietnamese armed forces.

Assoc. Prof. Dr Ha Minh Hong from the University of Social Sciences and Humanities said it was a just war and obtained many successes of national and international significance, including defeating the war machine of the Khmer Rouge, annihilating the genocidal regime, firmly protecting the country’s border, and helping Cambodia to revive its revolution.

The workshop also analysed many aspects regarding the background, causes and developments of the national protection war, the art of military and diplomacy of Vietnam, and lessons from the fight.-VNA