Gulf of Tonkin

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Coordinates: 19°45′N107°45′E / 19.750°N 107.750°E / 19.750; 107.750


Gulf of Tonkin
Gulf of Tonkin location.gif
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 1. 北部灣
2. 東京灣
Simplified Chinese 1. 北部湾
2. 东京湾
Literal meaning1. Northern Gulf
2. Gulf of Tonkin
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese 1. Vịnh Bắc Bộ
2. Vịnh Bắc Phần
3. Vịnh Bắc Việt
Chữ Nôm 1. 泳北部
2. 泳北分
3. 泳北越
True color satellite image of the Gulf of Tonkin Gulf of Tonkin.jpg
True color satellite image of the Gulf of Tonkin

The Gulf of Tonkin (Vietnamese : Vịnh Bắc Bộ, simplified Chinese :北部湾; traditional Chinese :北部灣; pinyin :Běibù Wān; lit. Northern Gulf; formerly known as 东京湾 or 東京灣 during the ROC period) is a gulf at the northwestern portion of the South China Sea, located off the coasts of Tonkin (northern Vietnam) and South China. It is defined in the west and northwest by the northern coastline of Vietnam down to the Hòn La Island, in the north by China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and to the east by the Leizhou Peninsula and Hainan Island.


The bay's Vietnamese and Chinese names – Vịnh Bắc Bộ and Běibù Wān, respectively – both mean "Northern Bay". Bắc Bộ is the native Vietnamese name of Tonkin. The name Tonkin, written "東京" in Hán-Nôm characters and Đông Kinh in the Vietnamese alphabet, means "eastern capital", and is the former toponym for Hanoi, the present capital of Vietnam. It should not to be confused with Tokyo, which is also written "東京" and also means "eastern capital". During Vietnam's French colonial era, the northern region was called Tonkin.

1964 incident

On 2 August 1964, United States President Lyndon B. Johnson falsely claimed that North Vietnamese forces had twice attacked American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin.</ref>"LBJ tape 'confirms Vietnam war error'." Martin Fletcher. The Times . 7 November 2001.</ref> Known today as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, this event spawned the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of 7 August 1964, ultimately leading to open war between North Vietnam and the United States. It furthermore foreshadowed the major escalation of the Vietnam War in South Vietnam, which began with the landing of US regular combat troops at Da Nang in 1965.

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東京灣 may refer to:

Đàng Ngoài

Đàng Ngoài, also known as Tonkin, Bắc Hà or Annam Kingdom (安南國), was an area in northern Đại Việt during the 17th and 18th centuries as the result of Trịnh–Nguyễn War. The word "Đàng Ngoài" first appeared in the Dictionarium Annamiticum Lusitanum et Latinum by Alexandre de Rhodes.

China–Vietnam border

The China–Vietnam border is the international boundary between China and Vietnam, consisting of a 1,297 km terrestrial border stretching from the tripoint with Laos in the west to the Gulf of Tonkin coast in the east, and a maritime border in the Gulf of Tonkin and South China Sea.

Tonkin (French protectorate)

Tonkin, or Bắc Kỳ (北圻), was a French protectorate encompassing modern Northern Vietnam.

Tropical Storm Bebinca (2018)

Tropical Storm Bebinca was a weak but erratic and long-lived tropical cyclone that affected South China and Vietnam in mid-August 2018. Bebinca originated from a tropical depression over the South China Sea on August 9. Maintaining this intensity for a few days near the Guangdong coast, the system intensified into a tropical storm south of Jiangmen on August 13. The storm moved slowly to the east and then curved back on the next day, before making landfall in the Leizhou Peninsula on August 15. Bebinca crossed the Gulf of Tonkin and made landfall in Vietnam on August 16, before dissipated on the next day.


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