The Secret Army Chiang Kai-shek and the Drug Warlords of the Golden Triangle

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-10-18
  • Publisher: Wiley
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Driven from Yunnan at the close of China#x19;s civil war, Chiang Kai-shek#x19;s Nationalist Chinese armies forcibly occupied much of northeastern Burma in early 1950.#xA0; With support from the American CIA and Thailand#x19;s military government, General Li Mi led those armies into Yunnan the next year.#xA0; They were pushed back into Burma.#xA0; Thereafter, Li Mi built a major base and settled in Burma#x19;s Shan State.#xA0; His meddling in Burma#x19;s ethnic insurgencies destabilized that new nation.#xA0; Moreover, recruiting unsavory armed border groups, Li Mi#x19;s army, known as the Kuomintang, or KMT, soon dominated the Golden Triangle opium trade.#xA0; Only when pressured by Washington and the United Nations did Taipei remove several thousand of its troops in 1953-54.#xA0; Several thousand chose to remain. In the late 1950s, amidst popular discontent on the Mainland, reinforcements from Taiwan prepared its army in Burma for another invasion of Yunnan.#xA0; That plan was derailed in late 1960 when, at Rangoon#x19;s invitation, the PLA entered Burma and drove the KMT into Thailand and Laos.#xA0; An international outcry over Taiwan#x19;s no-longer-secret army and intense US pressure forced Chiang to remove all but 3,000-4,000 troops.#xA0; Several hundred remained to fight as mercenaries for the Lao government but most that did not evacuate continued their drug trafficking from bases on the Thai-Burma border Separately, Taiwan#x19;s Intelligence Bureau of the Ministry of National Defense (IBMND) built a large intelligence-gathering and paramilitary force in Northeast Burma.#xA0; Allied with anti-Rangoon insurgent drug trafficking groups, the IBMND fought both the Burmese government and Burma#x19;s communist insurgents while launching ineffectual forays into Yunnan.#xA0; Mostly, however, it trafficked in drugs. Beginning in the 1970s, aging KMT units helped the Thai defeat communist guerrillas in North Thailand.#xA0; In return, most of the Nationalist Chinese remnants were given right of residence and, eventually, citizenship.#xA0; With international assistance, Thailand#x19;s new residents and their children prospered, largely weaning themselves from the narcotics trade in favor of agriculture and other lawful livelihoods.#xA0; Today#x19;s KMT villages in North Thailand are prosperous settlements with little of the drug trafficking for which their inhabitants were once notorious.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Two Young Chinese Soldiersp. vii
Glossary of Key Playersp. xiii
List of Abbreviationsp. xvii
Retreat from Yunnanp. 1
Sorting Things Out in Tachilekp. 15
Lieutenant General Li Mip. 29
Li Mi and His American Friendsp. 45
Li Mi's Yunnan Anticommunist National Salvation Armyp. 57
Attacking Yunnanp. 69
Washington Opts Outp. 87
Li Mi's Army Settles into Burmap. 97
Washington Cuts Its Lossesp. 113
Southern Strategy and Karen Alliesp. 121
The Road to the United Nationsp. 131
The United Nations vs. KMT Duplicityp. 139
First Evacuation from Burmap. 153
Liu Yuan-lin's Yunnan Anticommunist Volunteer Armyp. 165
A Resurgent KMTp. 181
Operation Mekong: Sino- Burmese Forces Rout the KMTp. 191
Air Battle Over Burma and American Weaponsp. 205
The Second KMT Evacuationp. 213
Removing KMT Remnants from Laosp. 225
Nationalist Chinese Armies in Thailandp. 235
Thailand's Troublesome Guestsp. 251
Intelligence Bureau of the Ministry of National Defensep. 265
Resettlement in Thailandp. 281
Soldiering on for Thailandp. 293
Postscriptp. 305
Bibliographyp. 309
Indexp. 329
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