6 MARCH 1953, Page 2

Trouble in the Shan States The Burmese Prime Minister announced

this week that his Government will shortly raise in the United Nations the question of Chinese Nationalist troops in North Burma. These forces, nominally commanded but perhaps not effectively con- trolled by General Li Mi, whose headquarters are thought to be in Siamese territory, crossed the Yunnan frontier in 1950 when the Communists made themselves masters of that outlying province. In recent months they have ceased to be a minor nuisance and are now a major problem. A force of between one and two thousand men, under a ruthless and energetic young commander, has been terrorising the Lashio area, burn- ing and looting-villages which refused them supplies, ambushing traffic on the Lashio road and raiding the small but important trading centre of Muse. They are well supplied with small arms and ammunition—the legacy, it may well be, of an ill- judged attempt by an American clandestine organisation to launch General U Mi against the Communist defenders of Yunnan—and the wild country, with its heterogeneous popu- lation of Shan, Kachins, Karens and other hill-tribes, is ideal terrain for the campaign of large-scale banditry which they are prosecuting. Whether in fact the Kuomintang Government on Formosa is in a position to exercise any control over Li Mi, and whether he can impose his will on his subordinate com- manders, seems doubtful; and in the event it will almost certainly be necessary for the Burmese Government to deploy large forces against an elusive and increasingly desperate enemy, whose activities the Communists, from their ring-side seat, may be assumed to watch without disfavour.