In March 1970…an anticommunist regime was established in Cambodia under General Lon Nol. Delighted to see an anticommunist [government] emerging in Indochina, Chiang Kai-shek assigned General Wang Sheng the task of building ties between Taipei and Phnom Penh.

A ROC Military Mission…was installed in Phnom Penh to promote bilateral cooperation. Wang Sheng’s papers at the Hoover Institution Archives reveal that Lon Nol…wanted to introduce Taiwan’s political warfare system into his army…Beginning in September 1972, Wang’s personnel [went to] Cambodia to kick-start a psychological and political warfare training program, at the expense of Taiwan’s government budget. That cooperation soon expanded to several other fields such as intelligence gathering, mass mobilization, sabotage, raids, and infiltration. Wang Sheng conducted his last inspection trip to Cambodia in December 1974, only to witness the rapid worsening of morale and local economic and security conditions. On the eve of the collapse of the Lon Nol regime in mid-April 1975, Taiwan was the last country to evacuate its Military Mission in Phnom Penh.

The fall of Indochina to the Communists in the spring of 1975 increased Chiang Ching-kuo’s urgency in implementing Taiwan’s secret military and intelligence diplomacy.

Between the mid-1970s and the early 1980s, Wang Sheng conducted many clandestine visits to virtually every non-communist state in Southeast Asia, including Thailand (1975 and 1982), Indonesia (1975), the Philippines (1979), and Malaysia (1982), where he met with top leaders and discussed military and intelligence cooperation.


Wilson Center’s CWIHP e-Dossier no. 70, “Taiwan’s Cold War in Southeast Asia” by Hsiao-ting Lin. 2016.


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