Thai–Laotian Border War

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Thai–Laotian Border War
Naun 1428.jpg
Noen 1428 (Hill no. 1428), the battlefield of Thai–Laotian Border War of 1988, view from Phu Soidao National Park, Chat Trakan, Phitsanulok, Thailand.
Date December 1987 - February 1988
Location Thailand Chat Trakan, Phitsanulok
Laos Botene District, Sainyabuli
Result Peace talks in Bangkok.
Belligerents
 Laos
 Vietnam
 Thailand
Casualties and losses
~1,000 total casualties[1]

The Thai–Laotian Border War (December 1987 – February 1988) was a short confrontation between Thai and Laotian forces. It was caused by a dispute involving the map made by French surveyors in 1907 to mark the borders between Siam and French Indochina in the southern Luang Prabang Range mountain area. Ownership of the village of Ban Romklao on the border of Phitsanulok Province and three small border villages on the edge of Uttaradit Province was left unclear. (This is the same map underlying the Cambodian–Thai border dispute. The agreed factor in determining ownership was the natural watershed, but the French map makers at times ignored this.[2])

A series of minor shooting incidents had occurred between Thai and Laotian forces in 1984. In December 1987, however, Thai armed forces occupied the disputed village of Ban Romklao, raising the Thai flag over it. The government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic protested strongly, insisting the village was part of Botèn district of Xaignabouli province. Thailand replied that the village belonged to Chat Trakan district (amphoe) of Phitsanulok Province. Pathet Lao forces staged a night attack on the small Thai garrison, driving the Thai soldiers from the village and replacing the Thai flag with that of the Lao PDR. Serious fighting followed, continuing for weeks until a cease-fire was declared on February 19, 1988.

The brief war claimed a total of about 1,000 casualties, the Thais suffering more heavily since for much of the war they were attacking entrenched Laotian positions. Gen. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh was the commander of the Royal Thai Army at the time of the war and was criticized for engaging in it against the wishes of the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Vietnam had assisted its communist ally, sending troops from the Second Vietnamese Infantry Division to Baan Nakok air field in Xaignabouli to support the Laotian military operations, amidst the border clashes with Thailand along the Thai–Cambodian border.[3]

Aftermath[edit]

The Thai-Lao Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) was established in 1996 to clarify the 1,810-kilometre boundary and settle ownership of the disputed villages. Border demarcation is still going on.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.historyguy.com/thai_laos_border_war_87.html
  2. ^ Supalak Ganjanakhundee (March 8, 2007). "Lao border talks progressing". National news. The Nation (Thailand). Retrieved February 8, 2011. "Officials from both sides will start to conduct aerial photography for mapping this month before beginning the demarcation process and plan to complete the task by 2010." 
  3. ^ New Tension Point
  4. ^ Supalak Ganjanakhundee (March 8, 2007). "Lao border talks progressing". National news. The Nation (Thailand). Retrieved February 8, 2011. "Officials from both sides will start to conduct aerial photography for mapping this month before beginning the demarcation process and plan to complete the task by 2010."