UNWANTED AND UNPROTECTED:
Thai–Burma relations. Kavi Chongkittavorn. I. Thai perceptions of Burma. To comprehend the nature and complexity of Thai-Burmese relations is to understand. Reply-To: "Douglas E. Steele - Student at Georgetown Univers" Subject: Thai/Burma relations Burma Issues. Thai's Burma Relations in the Government of Thein Sein (). Oratai Soparat. Ph.D Student, Chulalongkorn University,. Thein Sein has come to power .
Kanchanaburi fell with little resistance. But it could also be that the Siamese command miscalculated where the Burmese main attack would come from, and had not sufficiently reinforced the fort to withstand a major attack.
Judging by the Siamese chronicles' reporting of the main attack route, the Siamese command appeared to have believed that the main Burmese attack would come from the Gulf of Siam coastline, instead of the most obvious and shortest route via Kanchanaburi. The Siamese sources say that Maha Nawrahta's main invasion route came from southern Tenasserim, crossing the Tenasserim range at Chumphon and Phetburi. Historian Kyaw Thet specifically adds that the main attack route was via the Myitta Pass.
It means the Burmese would have had a longer route to go back up the Gulf of Siam coast. Without the element of surprise that Alaungpaya enjoyed in the war, the Burmese invasion force of would have had to fight more than three months it took Alaungpaya to break away from the coast. Yet, Maha Nawrahta's army was west of Ayutthaya by December. To be sure, the smaller Burmese army that took Tenasserim could have crossed over at Chumphon, and marched up the coast although the most southerly battles reported by the Burmese were at Ratburi  and Phetburi,  on the northern coast.
At any rate, according to the Burmese sources, Chumphon was not the main attack route. There, they finally faced a serious Siamese defensive line guarding the route to the capital, and Maha Nawrahta set up a garrison.
The first major battle of the southern theatre ensued when the Siamese made a joint land-naval attack on the Burmese garrison. The naval force consisted of several war boats and a British ship which was used to bombard Burmese positions.
But the Burmese defences held, and the Siamese retreated. The British ship fled to the sea. Outnumbered 3 to 1, the more experienced Burmese army nonetheless routed the much larger Siamese army, which according to the Burmese, was "chopped to pieces",  forcing the remaining Siamese troops to retreat to the capital.
But he pulled back to the northwest of the city because he did not see Thihapate's northern army, and because he did not want to take on another major battle with his depleted army. He fixed his headquarters near the Pagoda built by Bayinnaung two centuries ago. He used the hiatus to refill the ranks with Siamese conscripts. After taking Kamphaeng Phet, Thihapate turned northeast, and captured the main northern cities of Sukhothai and Phitsanulok. At Phitsanulok, he paused to refill the ranks because in about 4 months, he had already lost many men to the grueling campaign and to "preventable diseases".
The local chiefs were made to drink the water of allegiance and provide conscripts to the Burmese army. Outside Ayutthaya, Maha Nawrahta too was collecting local levies. But the Siamese army was driven back with heavy losses. It was the last major stand by the Siamese in the north.
Myanmar–Thailand relations - Wikipedia
The Siamese defence collapsed afterwards. The Burmese chronicles do speak of "petty chiefs" stalling the northern army's advance but it was early in the campaign along the Wang river during the rainy season August—October. The Burmese general who was actually stationed near Ayutthaya was not Thihapate but rather Maha Nawrahta, whose southern army waited for about a month for the northern army to show up. It appears that the three verified events—petty chiefs resisting Thihapate in the north, Thihapate's campaign period of five months, and Maha Nawrahta staking out by Ayutthaya—have merged to create this popular mythology.
First Chinese invasion of Burma December — April [ edit ] In the mean time, an ominous situation had developed in the north for the Burmese. In response to Ne Myo Thihapate's recruitment campaign in the northern Shan states, which the Chinese considered their territory, the Qianlong Emperor ordered an invasion of Sipsongpanna and Kengtung. In Decemberas the Burmese waged the battles of Phitsanulok and Ayutthaya, a Chinese invasion force of invaded, laying siege to the Burmese garrison at Kengtung.
Though battle hardened Burmese forces eventually drove back the besiegers, Burma was now fighting on two fronts, one of which had the largest army in the world. Nonetheless, Hsinbyushin apparently as it turned out, mistakenly believed that the border conflict could be contained as a low-grade war. He refused to recall his armies in Siam though he did reinforce Burmese garrisons along the Chinese border—in Kengtung, Kenghung and Kaungton. Battle of Ayutthaya[ edit ] City of Ayutthaya, Cpainted by Johannes Vingboons Battle at the outskirts January [ edit ] While the Burmese garrison was battling the Chinese at Kengtung, the combined Burmese armies outside Ayutthaya were as strong as ever.
Swelled by the Siamese levies, the combined Burmese invasion force now had 50, men, surpassing their pre-invasion strength. The Siamese army, which also gathered up 50, men, attempted a last-ditch effort to prevent a siege of the city. In late January, the Siamese forces came out and attacked Burmese positions centered around the Bayinnaung pagoda.
Maha Nawrahta's army was on the west side of the pagoda and Thihapate's was on the east. The initial Siamese attacks focused on the west wing, gradually driving back Maha Nawrahta's army. But Thihapate's army outflanked the Siamese lines from the east, and succeeded in cutting the Siamese army in two. The Siamese vanguard which was pushing Maha Nawrahta's line was completely encircled.
The ensuing battle wiped out much of the several thousand strong vanguard, and the rest were taken prisoner. The remaining Siamese troops retreated into the city and shut the gates. They share a 2,kilometer border, much of which has not been officially demarcated and some of which is in dispute, with both sides posting large military forces to defend their claims. While Thailand developed into a free-market, increasingly democratic state, Burma remained the highly centralized military state that it has been since General Ne Win took power inalthough a series of economic reforms announced in changed it from an isolationist economy to one increasingly open to foreign investment.
Following independence from Britain inBurma experienced a brief period of parliamentary democracy, during which time ethnic rebellions against the central government flared, although there were many parliamentarians and ministers of state from the ethnic minority groups. The Karen were the first minority to take up arms, almost immediately after independence. Like the other ethnic groups who subsequently did the same, the Karen wanted autonomy and a right to secede from the union.
Between andthe Thai army had more direct relations with the ethnic insurgents along the border than with the government in Rangoon.
As far as Thailand was concerned, the ethnic minority armies were "a cheap and efficient light infantry supplement to the thinly-spread Thai Army," which prevented direct clashes with Burmese forces, while at the same time could be called upon during the s to help in the fight against the Communist Party of Thailand.
Burma's students led what became a nationwide pro-democracy uprising, protesting the twenty-six years of military rule and in particular the November demonetization that sent most families crashing into a financial crisis. On August 8,the country came to a standstill with a student-organized national strike, and tens of thousands of people took to the streets in all of Burma's cities and towns.
As increasing numbers of public officials joined the protesters, the army felt its control slipping away. On September 18, it reestablished military rule in a bloody show of power that left an estimated 3, unarmed protesters dead. Thousands of students and protesters fled to ethnic minority-held areas in Burma's frontier regions, mostly on the border with Thailand.
Crucially, the SLORC also announced an end to economic isolationism and the dawn of a free market economy. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, then commander-in-chief of the army and foreign minister, was the first foreign leader to meet with the new government when he flew to Rangoon on December 14, The main reason for his trip was the negotiation of lucrative timber and fishing deals for Thai companies in Burma.
Chavalit's visit to Burma set the tone for the Thai attitude towards Burma: However, control of Burma-Thai relations was not a simple matter in Thailand. While the army and those politicians closely connected to it saw their future with a stable, if abusive, military government in Burma, civilian politicians and a growing number of concerned individuals were keen to support democratic reform.
These tensions became more apparent following the May general election in Burma, which was overwhelmingly won by the opposition National League for Democracy NLD led by their detained general secretary, Aung San Suu Kyi.
Months after the election, it became clear that the SLORC was not going to convene the parliament and hand over power to the elected representatives. A new wave of refugees fledto Thailand after a failed attempt by NLD parliamentarians to convene a parliament resulted in the arrest of over sixty parliamentarians and scores of NLD members, as well as over one hundred Buddhist monks.
Given the extent of support for the NLD in Burma they had taken 82 percent of the seats in the electionThai policy was more equivocal, offering tacit support and assistance to the NCGUB and others in case of a democratic victory in Burma. The laureates, who included the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, were not granted permission to visit Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma and instead met with Burmese dissidents and refugees in Thailand and made heartfelt press statements calling for sanctions against Burma.
Throughout this period, opium production in Burma and its distribution, mainly through Thailand, continued to grow. The product was distributed primarily through Thailand by the Chinese dealers who came there by way of Burma in the early ls.
The war in Vietnam and the influx of American soldiers became a major market for opium and its derivative, heroin. At the same time, the narcotic found new and expanding markets worldwide.
Despite pressure by the U. Whilst, the King of Thailand took some interest in eradicating opium production in his country, supporting local efforts to end its cultivation and substitute other crops or restore traditional crafts as means of replacing revenues the farmers lost, in Burma, the state took very little action against opium cultivation and instead concentrated on fighting against its own ethnic minorities.
When the public demonstrations in Burma began in the Summer of l, in support of a peaceful revolution, the Thai government did not speak out. Only in September, after the Burma military seized power in Rangoon and violently suppressed the unarmed people, did Thailand act against the Burma rulers by allowing political refugees to take shelter on its land.
Under military rule, the Burmese nominally held to the principles on foreign relations of their predecessors, but applied them in a different way, in a different setting.
Burmese–Siamese War (–67) - Wikipedia
Instead of following the rule of law and conducting its diplomacy in an open manner, it both responded to and initiated policies behind closed doors; with no free press, political opposition or parliament to discuss, criticize and publicize its actions, it proceeded without reference to any or all of these institutions. Meetings, discussions and agreements were taken in secret and the world only became aware following the outcome of an action, or comments by an international partner.
They also gave limited information about some of the things the Thai Border Police and Armed Forces did, which at times helped and at other times, hindered the Burmese refugees in the area. The period also shows how few advances were made in transcending the historic fears and attitudes of the leaders and people of both countries toward one another, at a time when they faced common problems.
The period also offers examples of efforts by both to draw together, but failing as immediate events, needs or objectives took precedence over the desire to find ways to bury the past and rebuild relations.
III The third phase in Burma-Thai relations opened with the rush of Burmese students and others into Thailand, in search of asylum and protection from the unbridled wrath of the Burmese army. The junta was seeking to capture and arrest those fleeing, for participating in the preceding summer demonstrations. In addition, he drew upon Art. The Burma UN representative also sought to deflect and soften criticism of his government by adding that the Burma rulers would soon hold national elections and return power to the people.
The first real change that the Burma military rulers made in foreign policy was in the area of economic relations with the rest of the world. On November 30, l, they announced that Burma would allow foreign investment, aid and technical assistance, which it anticipated would lead to economic development and modernization. Many in the two countries hoped more concessions and trade would follow. Both countries promised that the students would be protected by the Burma Red Cross, both in flight and upon their arrival home.
However, after more than students departed it was discovered that they had no international protection. But they did not honor the terms of the timber agreement with Burma. In their eagerness to extract the prized teak as quickly as possible, they brought in modern equipment and clear-cut the forests, thus destroying other trees and vegetation surrounding the desired variety. When the Burmese government became aware, it abrogated the contracts with the 40 Thai companies and would allow only 3 to continue on the condition that they changed their methods of timber extraction.
Early in this diplomatic period, Thailand took a great interest in the economic opportunities it saw in Burma; at the same time, it averted its eyes from the human rights violations being committed just across its border.
But, his tenure as Prime Minister was short and his successors dropped the slogan while continuing to look for trade with its neighbor states. The episodes noted above were not isolated examples.
Burmese–Siamese War (1765–67)
In them, both countries failed to honor their international agreements and observe the rule of law; their actions foreshadowed what would follow for the rest of the decade.
The main casualties throughout this period were the people who fled Burma to escape forced labor, rape and death, the destruction of their homes and villages, seeking asylum in Thailand. At the outset, the Thais allowed them to take refuge. However, as their numbers increased and they became serious economic and social problems, the government tightened its border controls and allowed its border guards to turn back refugees, knowing full well the fate that awaited them in the hands of the Burma army.
Thousands of refugees who were fortunate enough to find refuge in Thailand accepted any jobs offered and the temporary security they afforded.
However, they lived in fear of being forced back to Burma if they protested substandard wages, working and living conditions. Burma demanded their return and did nothing to assure the Thai government and the refugees that, upon their return, they would not be mistreated and would be allowed to return to their traditional lands.
Because Thailand had no agreement with the UN High Commission on Refugees to operate on the Burma-Thai frontier, the international body could do nothing on behalf of the helpless refugees.
During this decade, countless young women, recruited mostly from the poor and largely uneducated hill peoples in Burma, were induced to come to Thailand with the promise of good jobs and the chance to learn new skills. However, once in Thailand, they, too, found no protection and help as they were forced into prostitution and many became victims and carriers of AIDS.
During this first decade of the new military dictatorship in Burma, the soldier-rulers paid no attention to their treaty obligations, international law, and the quiet advice and suggestions of UN and world leaders who sought to counsel them to modify and stop their inhumane behavior. Yet, despite the overwhelming criticism, Burma's rulers continued to act outside of law on the assumption that Art. Throughout the decade the Burmese government did not respect their treaty obligations to honor the territorial integrity of their neighbor as the internal wars in Burma between the army and the ethnic minorities spilled across the border into Thailand.
In so doing, it destroyed a Thai village and killed several people. Thailand protested and called a special session of parliament to discuss the situation; following Burma Gen. The Burmese army and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Organization DKBO pursued the fleeing civilians across the Moei and into Thailand where they attacked and destroyed the camps and seized refugees attempting to escape.
The Thai armed forces and border police responded weakly, their key concern was to move the refugees further inland, but the foreign intruders accomplished their mission of demonstrating that the Burmese refugees could not escape their reach.
Unlike their response in l, Burma never again offered an apology or compensation for damages. There were calls from many sources inside of Thailand to end illegal immigration and return to Burma those who had no work permits. Many illegal workers were rounded up and deported, but most returned secretly for reasons such as the absence of employment in their homeland, their fears of arrest and being forced to labor for the Burma army without pay and under brutal conditions. Meanwhile, many Thai employers, desperate for workers, pleaded with the government in Thailand, to allow Burmese workers to return and work as before until they could find local replacements.
Since the document was not always recognized by Thai authorities, in reality, the UNHCR could do nothing to help them. Only since l has there been a change, with Thailand allowing the world body to register some refugees on the Burma-Thai border, inspect the refugee camps and help relocate Burmese students, willing to emigrate, to find new homes outside of Thailand.
Because the UNHCR can do so little in the face of the limitations placed upon it with the full flood of refugees, it remains unable to give broad and extensive help to the Burmese refugees. In its effort to permanently close down the black market trade between the two neighbor states which flourished before the Burma army seized control of its side of the border of the Moei River, the Burma government was not eager to see that the Mons, Karens and Karenni restart it.
But the Burmese government was slow to allow trade to resume. The Thai government took a further step and halted arms sales to the Burmese ethnic minorities in the hope that the Burma government would read its action as a signal that Thailand was eager to replace the old blackmarket with formal and legal trade. In l, the Thai government went further in accommodating the Burmese. It closed the borders and travel facilities to the NCGUB11 leaders who made their headquarters at Manerplaw and traveled abroad via Thailand.
Thailand hoped that its action would be reciprocated by the Burmese government opening trade.
But it did not achieve the desired results; the civil war continues to the present day and while trade has resumed, it remains limited as the Burma government opens and closes depending on how Thailand responds to each new demand made by the Burma rulers. In l, following a crisis in Bangkok where Burmese students seized the Burmese Embassy and which the Thai government officials resolved peacefully, the Burma military rulers openly criticized the way the episode was handled, and, in response, closed trade as well as suspended permission for Thais to fish in Burma waters.
As noted at the outset there are areas along the border which are contested by both sides. In l, there was a hill which the Burmese occupied and the Thais claimed. It nearly provoked the two sides to take military action in order to dislodge the other. But rather than fight, they agreed to negotiate and the hill, today, remains an area in dispute and tensions between the states in the area remain high.
There have been no recent moves by either side to call for the formation of a joint boundary commission to permanently settle the border location to the satisfaction of both nations. When the military seized power in l, the narcotics industry in Burma was highly developed. Cultivation of opium and its conversion to heroin thrust Burma to the forefront of the international drug market, as the second largest producer in the world.
Most of the growing area was in the Wa, east of the Salween River, and the Shan State, both beyond the control of the Burma army. Until l, the U. At the time, the Wa were under the political control of the Burma Communist Party and formed a major element in its armed forces. But in early l, the Was and other ethnic minorities revolted against the BCP and declared themselves independent revolutionary forces.
The Burma military leader, Gen. Khin Nyunt, went to the Wa area and entered into a ceasefire agreement with their leaders. In exchange for being allowed to keep their weapons, administer their own area and to have a free hand to pursue their economic interest, they agreed to halt their war against the state and assist it in ending the civil war.
The Wa turned their energies to expanding opium production and fought against the armed units of Khun Sa, the Shan opium leader and their chief rival. During the past decade, the Was expanded their narcotics operations to include manufacture and marketing of methamphetamine pills which quickly found a market in Thailand.