Gulf of Tonkin

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Gulf of Tonkin, NW arm of the South China Sea, c.300 mi (480 km) long and 150 mi (240 km) wide, between Vietnam and China. The shallow gulf (less than 200 ft/60 m deep) receives the Red River. Haiphong, Vietnam, and Peihai (Pakhoi), China, are the chief ports. An alleged attack (Aug., 1964) by North Vietnamese gunboats against U.S. naval forces stationed in the gulf led to increased U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War (see Tonkin Gulf Resolution).

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Tonkin, Gulf of an arm of the South China Sea, bounded by the coasts of southern China and northern Vietnam. An incident there in 1964 led to increased US military involvement in the area prior to the Vietnam War.