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Influential Wa State Party Bats for CMEC

Published Jan 18, 2020
Updated Mar 02, 2020

United Wa State Party (UWSP) expects solution for resolving fighting between government troops and northern Myanmar based ethnic armed forces will be found during Chinese President Xi’s visit to Myanmar.

The statement issued by UWSP/UWSA (United Wa State Army) welcomed President Xi’s visit to Myanmar and added that peace in northern Myanmar was concerned with Sino-Myanmar relations and development among people (with China) as per Mizzima News
The statement suggests that China plays a crucial role in restoring peace in Myanmar especially a ceasefire with ethnic armed groups in the Northern Alliance.

Brig. Gen. Zaw Min Tun from Tatmadaw (Defence Services) True News Information Team said, “They (China) are historically concerned and involved (in Myanmar affairs). We can be optimistic if they act as a good neighbour and follow the principle of peaceful coexistence in dealing with the Northern Alliance.” The UWSP statement wishes economic, trade and infrastructure development projects in China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ and ‘China Myanmar Economic Corridor’ will have a good and immediate impact in underdeveloped ethnic inhabited areas.

Noted Myanmar expert Bertil Lintner states that the United Wa State Party (UWSP) is one of the strongest political groups in Myanmar’s ethnic wars. United Wa State Army (UWSA) has the largest army amongst the ethnic armed organizations (EAOs).

Sources claim that it is the best equipped, boasting modern and sophisticated Chinese weaponry.

Understanding the special relationship between the UWSA and China, as well as what long-term benefits China anticipates, is critical with respect to long-term peace prospects in Myanmar, as is better understanding the UWSA itself.

Early in 2017, these groups established the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee, replacing a previous Thailand-based alliance which includes the Kachin Independence Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, the Shan State Army, the Arakan Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, and the National Democratic Alliance Army.

Given their numbers, and arms, peace in Myanmar without the active participation of the UWSA and its allies is clearly not a realistic goal as per Bertil Lintner.