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China Pushes for Stability in Northern Myanmar

Published Nov 07, 2019
Updated Feb 06, 2020

Chinese Special Envoy for Asian Affairs Sun Guoxiang met delegates of the Northern Alliance in Yunnan Province on Oct. 31, according to information officer Major Mai Ai Kyaw of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), which is a member of the alliance along with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Arakan Army (AA).

“He mainly talked about China’s support for Myanmar’s peace process and called for the holding of continuous peace talks,” Maj. Mai Ai Kyaw told The Irrawaddy.

The representatives of the Northern Alliance also explained to the envoy the problems they are facing.

U MaungMaungSoe believes China’s intervention reflects its concerns over its railroad project linking Mandalay and Muse, on the Chinese border in Shan State.

“China is conducting surveys to build the Muse-Mandalay railroad. And it is explaining EIA [environmental impact assessment] reports [to local people] in every township [along the route]. It is likely that it will hold talks with the Myanmar government soon. So, it is trying to clear its trade route,” U MaungMaungSoe told The Irrawaddy.

Eight ethnic armed groups and the U Thein Sein government signed the NCA on Oct. 15, 2015. The eight ethnic armed groups that signed the NCA are: the KNU, the CNF, the APL, the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF), the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army (Peace Council) (KNU/KNLA PC), the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), and the Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO).

The Non Signatories however remain potent and have been resisting the NCA as some of them are quasi states in their own domain.

The NCA non-signatories are Wa United State Army, Kachin Independence Organization, National Democratic Alliance Army, Shan State Progressive Party, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, Ta’aung National Liberation Army, Arakan Army and Karenni National Progressive Party. 

The Myanmar Army has repeatedly said it would not hold peace talks with the MNDAA, TNLA and AA because they came to existence only after emergence of a democratic government, in contrast to other long-established ethnic armed groups. Without these joining the NCA the process will not move forward and it remains to be seen if the influence of Chinese Special Envoy for Asian Affairs Sun Guoxiang will work