Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach concluded three days of talks with Thai government leaders today still deadlocked on the main issue that divides them: Vietnam's military annexation of battered Cambodia.
The talks ended with the two sides agreeing to disagree. However, Thach said the important thing was that the talks took place in an atmosphere of good will.
Previous talks have been a "dialogue of the deaf," Thach said, "but this time we were like lovers."
Thailand, along with other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations -- Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines -- stuck to its demand that Vietnam must withdraw its estimated 200,000 troops from Cambodia.
Thach was equally adamant that Vietnam will not withdraw its troops so long as there is a "Chinese threat" to Indochina.
Malaysia and Indonesia, which fear the Chinese more than the Vietnamese or their Soviet backers, have indicated they might recognize the Hanio-backed government in Phnom Penh. But there was no sign that the Thais would follow suit.
Recalling China's punitive military strike against Vietnam in February 1979, Thach charged the Chinese with "massive troop concentrations" on the Sino-Vietnam border to "teach us a second lesson because in their view we were bad pupils."