Friday, August 14, 2009

China Warns Commander to Avoid Instability in Shan State

The Irrawaddy News

Chinese officials have warned the junta’s northeastern military commander not to create instability in Shan State bordering with China, according to sources on the Sino-Burmese border.

Two Chinese officials from Yunnan Province met with northeastern commander Aung Than Htut in Loigai Township on August 10.

Aung Kyaw Zaw, a Burmese analyst based on the border, said the Chinese officials told the commander they were worried about a migration of refugees from Shan State into China, if armed clashes between junta troops and ethnic armed groups break out.

About 10,000 people, including Kokang and Chinese migrants, reportedly entered China earlier this month after tension increased between government troops and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), a Kokang ceasefire group.

The two Chinese officials expressed their views forcefully, according to the source.

Tension have increased following an attempted raid by 70 government troops on the home of the MNDAA chairman, in search of illegal drugs. About 300 Kokang troops blocked the government troops on their way to the residence, sources said.

Chinese officials reportedly told Vice Snr-Gen Maung Aye of the Burmese army, to handle border area conflicts among the ethnic armed ceasefire groups peacefully during his visit to China in June, according to sources.

The government is trying to force ethnic armed groups, the Wa, Kokang and Monglar, in Shan State to transform their forces into a border guard force under the military government.

The three groups have refused the offer, increasing tensions. The junta has deployed more troops in the area as a result. Some analysts say that the government appears to be preparing an offensive against the armed ethnic groups. Other sources say they believe government troops will not mount any immediate offensives in Shan State because of China’s concern and the upcoming national election in 2010.

The three ethnic armed ceasefire groups have formed an alliance to support each other if there are clashes with government troops, said sources in Shan State.

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