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Burmese-Thai relations
Map indicating locations of Burma and Thailand



Burma–Thailand relations refers to the current and historical relations between Burma and Thailand. Burma has an embassy in Bangkok. Thailand has an embassy in Rangoon.[1][2] Relations between Burma and Thailand focus mainly on economic issues and trade. There is sporadic conflict with Thailand over the alignment of the border.

Military history

Burmese–Siamese War of 1548-49

The Burmese–Siamese war of 1548 was the first of many wars fought between the Burmese of Pegu and the Siamese of Ayutthaya. The war began with an invasion by King Tabinshwehti of the Taungoo Dynasty through the Three Pagodas Pass into Siamese territory, which presaged an attack on the capital city of Ayutthaya itself. The invasion came after a political crisis in Ayutthaya that had ended with the placing of Maha Chakkraphat on the Siamese throne.

The war is notable for the introduction of early modern warfare by Portuguese mercenaries. It is most notable in the history of Thailand for the valiant death in battle of Siamese Queen Suriyothai on her war elephant. As a result, the conflict is often referred to in Thailand as the War that led to the loss of Queen Suriyothai.[3]

Burmese–Siamese War (1594–1605)

The Burmese–Siamese War (1594–1605) was the war caused by the vengeance of Siam towards the Burmese rule. The King Naresuan of Ayutthaya Kingdom was planning to requiring conquer Burma, The war began on Siamese attacks and occupied city of Mergui, Tenasserium coast to Toungoo.

Sino-Burmese War (1765–1769)

The Sino–Burmese War (1765–1769) was a war fought between the Qing Dynasty of China and the Konbaung Dynasty of Burma. China under the Qianlong Emperor launched four invasions of Burma between 1765 and 1769, which were considered as one of his Ten Great Campaigns.[4]

At first, Qianlong envisaged an easy war, and sent in only the Green Standard troops stationed in Yunnan. The Qing invasion came as the majority of Burmese forces were deployed in the Burmese invasion of Siam. Nonetheless, battle-hardened Burmese troops defeated the first two invasions of 1765 and 1766 at the border. The regional conflict now escalated to a major war that involved military maneuvers nationwide in both countries. The third invasion (1767–1768) led by the elite Manchu Bannermen nearly succeeded, penetrating deep into central Burma within a few days' march from the capital, Ava.[5] But the Bannermen of northern China could not cope with unfamiliar tropical terrains and lethal endemic diseases, and were driven back with heavy losses.[6] After the close-call, King Hsinbyushin redeployed most of the Burmese armies from Siam to the Chinese border. The fourth and largest invasion got bogged down at the frontier. With the Qing forces completely encircled, a truce was reached between the field commanders of the two sides in December 1769.[7]

The Burmese-Siamese War (1785–1786)

The Burmese-Siamese War (1785–1786)
LocationSouthern Thailand, Northern Thailand, Western Thailand
Result Decisive Siamese Victory
Flag of the Alaungpaya Dynasty of Myanmar.svg Burmese Kingdom Flag of Thailand (1782).svg Rattanakosin Kingdom (Siam)
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Alaungpaya Dynasty of Myanmar.svg Bodawpaya
Flag of the Alaungpaya Dynasty of Myanmar.svg Thado Minsaw
Flag of Thailand (1782).svg Rama I
Flag of Thailand (1782).svg Maha Sura Singhanat
Flag of Thailand (1782).svg Anurak Devesh
90,000 70,000

Bodawpaya of Burma pursued his ambitious campaigns to expand his dominions. The Burmese-Siamese War (1785–1786) was called “Nine Armies War” by Siam because the Burmese came in nine armies. The armies surged into Lanna and Northern Siam, yet the governor of Lampang managed to partly halt the Burmese, waiting for the troops from Bangkok. As Phitsanulok was captured, Rama I himself led an army to the north.

In the south, Bodawpaya was waiting at Chedi Sam Ong. The Front Palace led his troops to the south the counter-attacked the Burmese came from Ranong through Nakhon Si Thammarat and the engagements occurred at Kanchanaburi. The Burmese also attacked Thalang (Phuket), where to governor had just died. Chan, wife of the governor, and her sister Mook gathered people to defend Thalang against the Burmese. Today,[when?] Chan and Mook are revered as two heroines opposing the Burmese invasions.

The Burmese proceeded to capture Songkhla. Upon hearing the news, the governors of Phatthalung fled. However, a monk named Phra Maha encouraged the citizens to turn up their arms against the Burmese. Phra Maha was later raised to nobility by Rama I.

As his armies were destroyed, Bodawpaya retreated, only to renew attacks the next year (1786). Bodawpaya, this time, didn't divide his troops but instead formed into single army. Bodawpaya passed through the Chedi Sam Ong and settled in Ta Din Dang. The Front Palace marched the Siamese forces to face Bodawpaya. The fighting was very short and Bodawpaya was quickly defeated. This short war was called “Ta Din Dang campaign”.

19th century relations

20th century relations

World War II

In 1941, Thailand sent Phayap Army to occupy the Shan State and Kayah State of Burma. the principal objective of the army commander was to procure opium. Diplomatic relations were established in 1948. Both countries are members of the ASEAN.

21st century relations

Recently, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva made clear that dialogue encouraging political change is a priority for Thailand, but not through economic sanctions. He also made clear to reconstruct temples damaged in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis.[8] However, there were tensions over detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, with Thailand calling for her release.[9] She was released in 2010.[10]

2010 Burma Border clashes

The 2010 Burma Border clashes were a series of ongoing skirmishes between the Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) and splinter brigades of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA). The clashes erupted along the border with Thailand shortly after the general election on 7 November 2010.[11] An estimated 10,000 refugees have fled into nearby neighbouring Thailand to escape the violent conflict.[12] There is concern that due to discontent with the elections, and speculations of electoral fraud, that the conflict could escalate into a civil war.[13]

Political history

Present political relations

In the Thaksin Shinawatra administration, relations have been characterized by conflicts and confrontations.[14] Border disputes are now coming more prominent and Thailand as disturbed by the imprisonment of Burma's dissident Aung San Suu Kyi.

See also

  • Foreign relations of Burma


  1. Burmese embassy in Bangkok
  2. Thai embassy in Burma
  3. Amphetamine Trade Between Burma and Thailand
  4. Charles Patterson Giersch (2006). Asian borderlands: the transformation of Qing China's Yunnan frontier. Harvard University Press. pp. 101–110. ISBN 978-0-674-02171-6. 
  5. DGE Hall (1960). Burma (3rd edition ed.). Hutchinson University Library. pp. 27–29. ISBN 978-1-4067-3503-1. 
  6. Charles Patterson Giersch (2006). Asian borderlands: the transformation of Qing China's Yunnan frontier. Harvard University Press. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-674-02171-6. 
  7. GE Harvey (1925). History of Burma. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd.. pp. 254–258. 
  8. Abhisit calls for change in Burma, Bangkok Post, January 12, 2009.
  9. Thai-Burma relations under "unprecedented strain". DVB. June 12, 2009
  10. Ba Kaung (13 November 2010). "Suu Kyi Freed at Last". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 2010-11-14. 
  11. "Burma election marred by violence". November 8, 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  12. "Thousands flee Myanmar clashes". Al Jazeera. November 8, 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  13. "Civil war threatens following Burma's election". Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). November 9, 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  14. The relationship between Thailand and Myanmar

External links

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