China reiterated its intention to withdraw soon from Vietnam today while Hanoi stepped up its appeals for greater national effort to repel the invading Chinese Army.
A day after it became clear that the Chinese had captured the provincial capital of Lang Son, 85 miles north of Hanoi, Vietnam's Communist Party Central Committee issued an appeal for increased military training and greater production to help defeat the Chinese.
"Our war of self-defense against the Chinese aggressor has begun," said the appeal, which dominated Radio Hanoi's evening broadcast.
Peking is not conducting the limited operation it has claimed, the appeal said, but intends to occupy Vietnamese territory.
In Peking, however, Premier Hua Guofeng (Hua Kuo-feng) made the latest of a series of statements by Chinese leaders that their soldiers soon will pull back to their own side of the border.
Hua told British Industry Minister Eric Varley that the Chinese military action is going well.
"He mentioned that they, the Chinese government, don't want an inch of Vietnamese territory, that it's a very limited action they have taken, that a withdrawal will take place, and he said that will take place shortly," Varley said of his meeting with the Chinese leader.
The Chinese capture of Lang Son puts their advance troops only about 18 miles from the Red River Delta where most of the people of northern Vietnam live. The 18 miles of hilly, difficuilt terrain provide Hanoi's best defense positions.
China's official news agency gave an account of the capture of one mountaintop near Lang Son Feb. 27.
"Well coordinated actions by Chinese artillery and tank forces enabled them to capture all the heights around Khau Ma Son Mountain before they made the final assault on the main peak," the New China News Agency said.
"The enemy put up a desperate fight from the commanding height, firing from all pillboxes and hidden bunkers. The summit was enveloped in smoke that blurred visibility," it said.
China also broadcast by satellite the second of four daily television films of its troops at the border. As in the first film, Chinese troops were shown firing artillery and on the move, but there were no pictures of ground combat.
The Chinese films are being watched inside China and abroad.
In Tokyo, Japan's Foreign Ministry said its ambassador in Peking has received the impression from Chinese leaders that a cease-fire will come soon. There had been earlier Japanese press reports from Peking to the same effect, but it was not clear what a cease-fire would mean if it was not accompanied by a Chinese withdrawal.
The appeal by Vietnam's Central Committee duclared "every province and city is a battlefield. The whole country is a battlefield."
It took up most of the Radio Hanoi broadcast that for most of the 16 days since China launched its invasion has been dominated by Vietnamese claims that it has inflicted huge casualties on the invaders and other battlefield reports.