Yangon — On this day in 1954, Operation Bayintnaung successfully concluded, finally driving the Chinese nationalist Kuomintang, the first foreign invader of independent Myanmar (then Burma), out of the country.
Kuomintang troops first crossed the border in 1950 from Yunnan Province after they were defeated by the Chinese Communist Party in the civil war.
The Kuomintang rapidly expanded its forces to some 12,000 troops and invaded the north, east and south of the country while engaging in the lucrative opium trade.
Myanmar’s military or Tatmadaw launched Operation Nagar Naing (Conquering of the Dragon) in March 1953 in Shan State’s Mong Hsat against the Kuomintang but suffered a heavy defeat.
In April 1953, Myanmar filed a complaint with the United Nations General Assembly about the Kuomintang’s invasion. Despite the United Nation’s ruling that the Kuomintang should leave, it refused to retreat.
Brigadier General Kyaw Zaw, who had been one of the 30 young men who received military training in Japan to fight British colonial forces, led Operation Bayintnaung, the first division-level operation in mountainous terrain in February 1954. With air and artillery support, Myanmar’s military managed to push the Kuomintang into Thailand.
By May, General Li Mi, the Kuomintang commander, announced the dissolution of the Yunnan Province Anti-Communist National Salvation Army, as the Kuomintang was also known. Over 5,000 Kuomintang troops were flown from Chiang Rai to Taiwan.