On February 17, 1979, a force of over 600,000 Chinese troops crossed Vietnam’s northern border, kicking off a 17-day attack.

Military newspaper Quan doi nhan dan reported that Chinese forces launched a fiery artillery attack at around 4 a.m., when residents living along the 600-kilometer border were still asleep.

Casualties were reported in Cao Bang, Ha Giang, Lai Chau, Lang Son, Lao Cai and Quang Ninh.

The conflict claimed thousands of lives on both sides, but hasn't received the same attention as similar fights against the French and Americans. The history of Vietnam's battle against western colonial aggression remains a major part of the country's national curriculum, but Vietnam's fight against the Chinese only began receiving renewed media attention following the escalation of tensions in the East Sea, internationally known as South China Sea.

Memories of the war in Cao Bang were captured by Tran Manh Thuong, a photographer for the Van Hoa Publishing House.

By Hoang Phuong - VnExpress.net - February 16, 2017