29 June 2011

KIA Doubts Burmese Army Will Attack Through China


LAIZA: Kachin Independence Army (KIA) leaders said on Monday that they do not believe the Chinese government would allow the Burmese army to launch offensives against the KIA headquarters in Laiza, Kachin State from Chinese territory.

In an interview with The Irrawaddy in Laiza, the KIA’s deputy military chief, Gen. Gun Maw, said that the Burmese army might have asked the Chinese government for such help during a recent meeting of Chinese and Burmese government officials in Mungshi City, Yunnan Province.

But while not completely ruling out the scenario of China-based attacks by the Burmese army, he did not believe the Chinese government would allow such a move because it would have a substantial negative impact on border stability.

Gun Maw said that one reason he doubts the Chinese government will let the Burmese army use the main trading route between Laiza and Yunnan Province to launch military offensives against the KIA is the fact that an estimated 300,000 Kachin people are living on the Chinese side of the border.

“If the Burmese army wants to attack us from China, they can do so without the Chinese government’s permission. They can use the border pass cards to send commandos,” said Gun Maw. “But I think the Chinese government will not want to have problems with the Kachin community in China.”

Ringed by rugged mountains, Laiza used to serve as one of the main trading points between Burma and China before the KIA and the Burmese army became engaged in deadly clashes more than two weeks ago. The current conflict has been centered mainly on control of Momauk Township, Kachin State, where the Chinese government has built hydropower plants.

Since the fighting began, the previously busy road between Laiza and Yunnan Province has been mostly silent. Gun Maw said that if the Burmese army troops tried to enter Laiza using this road, it would find itself in “a killing field.” Full story at The Irrawaddy

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