Saturday, April 29, 1972
Hanoi Delegate: Invasion? What Invasion?
Speaking at the Vietnam peace talks, resumed after a five-week break, North Vietnamese delegate Xuan Thuy charged it is the United States that "is conducting a war of aggression in Vietnam."
Mrs. Nguyen Thi Binh, chief Viet Cong delegate, echoed Thuy's charges, and insisted the United States must agree to the Communist demands for a settlement.
U.S. delegate William J. Porter had called on North Vietnam to "agree to end your invasion and commence the withdrawal of North Vietnamese troops from South Vietnam."
Porter added that if progress can be achieved on withdrawal of North Vietnamese troops, the United States would reduce "the level and intensity" of its "retaliatory response to that invasion."
He called on the North Vietnamese to respond to his proposal now or at a new session of the peace talks May 4. He warned that if North Vietnam refuses to "deal with the substance of both the present invasion and general problems of peace, including prisoners of war," the United States will break off the talks.
He asserted "only substance will keep us at this table."
Thuy called on President Nixon to "honor the U.S. engagement made in October 1968, to completely and unconditionally stop the bombing and all other acts of war" against North Vietnam.
Thuy again rejected the U.S. claim -repeated by Nixon Wednesday night -that the 1968 bombing halt was based on a North Vietnamese understanding not to violate the demilitarized zone.
This is "sheer fabrication," Thuy said. "There is no "understanding" whatsoever."
Requesting the North Vietnamese to negotiate the issues Porter declared:
"The world is waiting to hear how you reconcile this invasion -involving a massive violation of the demilitarized zone -with your protestations of good will and of a desire to seek peace at this table…
"The question for you to answer today is whether you are prepared, as a first item of business, to discuss measures which will put an end to this invasion."
"I proposed specifically that you agree to end your invasion and commence the withdrawal of North Vietnamese troops from South Vietnam. Obviously, if concrete progress on that score can be achieved, there could be a corresponding reduction in the level and intensity of our retaliatory response to that invasion."
Porter warned the North Vietnamese: "It will not be practical to hold meetings if you continue to refuse to deal with the substance of both the present invasion and general problems of peace, including prisoners of war and those missing in action. Only substance will keep us at this table."
"Hanoi Delegate: Invasion? What Invasion?" by (AP) published in the Pacific Stars and Stripes on Saturday, April 29, 1972 and reprinted from European and Pacific Stars and Stripes, a Department of Defense publication copyright, 2002 European and Pacific Stars and Stripes.
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