Gulf of Tonkin
The Gulf of Tonkin
(480 kmx240 km) lies between Tonkin
. Notably shallow (less than 60 meters deep), it is the northwest arm of the South China Sea
. The Red River
flows into the Gulf. Haiphong, Vietnam, and Peiha, China, are the chief ports. The Chinese Hainan Island
lies in the Gulf.
The Gulf is notable in history because of incidents in August of 1964 that led to the direct involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War.
Because in several Asian languages, "Tonkin" means both Tonkin and Tokyo, Vietnamese call it Bac Bo Gulf. Modern Chinese geographers use this convention as well, calling it Beibu Gulf (北部灣).