Vietnam accused Chinese troops of continuing attacks inside Vietnam Thursday as the Chinese withdrawal continued.
Analysts here, however, said the withdrawal appeared to be proceeding carefully, and now involved the pull-back of large units. China sent an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 soldiers into Vietnam in the invasion that began Feb. 17.
China announced Monday that it had accomplished its goals in Vietnam and would withdraw completely unless Vietnamese troops launched new attacks. Hanoi has said it will permit the Chinese departure unless the Chinese attempt to take new offensive actions under cover of their withdrawal announcement.
Radio Hanoi's account Thursday appeared to indicate that the Chinese are destroying bridges, rail lines and other communications links as they depart.
It announced that a railroad station had been destroyed 24 miles south of Lai Chau province capital in the extreme northwest. That Chinese penetration is deeper than Hanoi has reported previously in that area. It said the Chinese troops had used artillery in the area and had plundered the local people.
"The Chinese aggressor troops were withdrawing very slowly and in very small numbers," the Vietnam News Agency monitored here said. "On their path of withdrawal they have committed very barbarous acts of burning, destruction and plundering. In some places they not only refused to withdraw, but continued their nibbling attacks."
A Japanese reporter was killed in the north central provincial capital Lang Son, the site earlier of the major battle of the the now 20-day-old invasion, Radio Hanoi said. The broadcast said Isao Takano, who worked in Hanoi fro Akahata, the newspaper of the pro-Soviet Japanese Communist Party, was shot in the head while entering Lang Son. Two Vietnamese who were with him were wounded, Radio Hanoi said.
The reporter was killed yesterday at a time when Chinese artillery was shelling Lang Son, the radio said. A second Japanese reporter witnessed the incident.
China said almost nothing about what is happening in Vietnam today. Its only news report was that Chinese troops had distributed food to hungry members of minority tribes as they withdrew. Hill tribes populated both sides of the China-Vietnam border.
Despite the Vietnamese reports of continued fighting, neither Vietnam nor China has indicated that the withdrawal might be stopped and large-scale fighting resumed.
Both nations claim that they won the war. China had announced from the start that its invasion would be limited and says it met its objective of punishing Vietnam for a long series of cross border provocations. However, China did not force major redeployments of Vietnam's forces which are spread in Laos, Cambodia and former South Vietnam.
Vietnam says it has forced China to withdraw. As much as China was seeking to inflict a defeat that would destroy the image of omnipotence Vietnam's army gained in defeating th0 United States and South Vietnam, Vietnam is determined to perpetuate its image of invincibility.
Vietnam has not called off the general mobilization it ordered March 5 and has hailed -- and greatly exaggerated -- the casualties it inflicted on the Chinese.