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The Vietnamese-Philippine Confrontation was a military conflict that occured between Vietnam which was backed by the Soviet Union and the Philippines which backed its own military with a little help from the United States and the United Kingdom. In this period of the Cold War, Vietnam and the Philippines were the only two military superpowers in Southeast Asia. Although no real confrontation occured, as both militaries didn't fire a single shot at each other. But it did result in the persecution of many Filipinos in Vietnam and a political enmity between the Vietnamese and Philippine governments.
The background for the Vietnamese-Philippine Conflict stemmed from the political enmity between the Soviet states and NATO. During the Cold War, the provisional government of Vietnam was overthrown in place of a communist and Marxist-Leninist government.
Vietnam Comes Marxist-Leninist
The Soviet Union Backs North Vietnam
With many communist countries, the Soviet Union became their main source of backups and supplies. The Socialists of Vietnam were backed by the Soviet Union and they guarded control of North Vietnam. South Vietnam was for democratic and western ideology. North Vietnam was under the Soviet Union's control and South Vietnam was under the United States's control.
Vietnam Becomes a Superpower
Under Soviet control, Vietnam became a military superpower very shortly. United States forces and southern Vietnamese forces fought with the Soviet-backed NVA (North Vietnamese Army) for control of Vietnam. The United States' troops could not handle the ferociousness of the NVA. Foreign aid needed to come to Vietnam. The United States asked the Philippines for help towards Vietnam. The Philippines was closer to Vietnam, and much more similar in terms of its people and its geography. Before the Philippines had been the only military superpower in Southeast Asia. Malaysia's military was still under development, Indonesia was still gaining its independence against the Dutch. But Vietnam had emerged to become a military superpower in Southeast Asia, the only one other than the Philippines. Vietnam's military became Southeast Asia's second most powerful military from the Philippines. The Philippine military had 82,032,212 armed troops in service with 3,212,222 available tanks and aircraft. Vietnam's military had 71,322,253 armed troops in service and 1,122,121 tanks and aircraft.
Joint American-Filipino Operations
President Marcos agreed to help the United States army fight the Vietnamese. American soldiers arrived in various parts of the Philippines. The Philippines was an ideal training ground, since it has a very identical geography to that of Vietnam's. Philippine soldiers trained the American soldiers to fight in dense rain forests and tricky terrain. Some American soldiers even got injured along the way. The Philippine government planned on sending 1,000,000 Filipino soldiers and 40,211 tanks and aircraft to Vietnam.
Vietnam Plans to Invade Philippines
The Vietnamese embassy runners in Manila fled back to Vietnam to notify the North Vietnamese government of the coming Philippine soldiers. The NVA decided it wanted to lead an offensive against the Philippines. Ho Chi Minh, the leader of the NVA and Vietnam's socialists said, "The Americans have the Filipinos on their side as their support. What if we destroy their support?" Although the Vietnamese offensive of the Philippines was simply an idea rather than a planned attack. Ho Chi Minnh never planned a true attack on the Philippines.
President Marcos Reacts
President Marcos of the Philippine said, "I do not fear Vietnam or its growing infestation of communists.I want that commie (Ho Chi Minnh) to bring it on. We've got a military just as powerful as they are."
After Vietnam was united into one socialist republic after South Vietnam, Vietnam and the Philippines would face a series of political and military enmity. Vietnamese and Philippine terrorists would plan a series of terrorist bombings in each others's countries. In Ho Chi Minh City, a group of Filipino and anti-communist Vietnamese rebels killed Vietnamese police officers and shot anybody in their way. In the Philippines, several churches and mosques were destroyed by Vietnamese terrorists disguised as "travellers" and "tourists". In Vietnam, there have been many cases where Filipino and Malaysian embassy runners were captured in killed. In 1995, a bomb exploded and destroyed a Filipino embassy in Hanoi. For one month, the Vietnamese and Philippine governments would get involved in a dispute over who would pay for it. The Philippine government ended up paying for it due to refusal from the Vietnamese government.
Confrontation Ends With Spratly Situation
Eventually the enmity between Vietnam and the Philippines ended with the Spratly conflict. The two militaries found themselves an even bigger and more concerning enemy, China. The Chinese also had a claim to the Spratly Islands. Chinese soldiers have been performing suspicious exerices into the Spratly Islands. The governments of ASEAN suspect this to be an attempt to expand China's claims. The militaries of Philippines and Vietnam have been cooperating in preventing Chinese expansion into the Vietnamese and Philippine claims.