Fighting Stops as Kokang Surrender Arms to Chinese
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Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Burma

Fighting Stops as Kokang Surrender Arms to Chinese


By WAI MOE Saturday, August 29, 2009


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Fighting near the Sino-Burmese border came to an abrupt halt today after about 700 Kokang troops handed over their weapons to Chinese officials following days of clashes that sent thousands fleeing across the border.

Aung Kyaw Zaw, a Burmese military analyst who is close to the Kokang, told The Irrawaddy on Saturday that at least 700 soldiers from the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), an ethnic-Kokang militia, crossed the border into China today and surrendered their arms to local officials.

Kokang troops at a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the founding of the MNDAA.
He added that troops from the United Wa State Army (UWSA), a much larger force allied to the Kokang, have been repositioned to Wa-controlled territory.

The Irrawaddy was unable to verify this information with other independent sources.

The sudden end to the fighting came a day after Kokang and UWSA troops ambushed a convoy of Burmese army vehicles in Kokang territory. According to unconfirmed reports, more than a dozen Burmese soldiers were killed in the attack.

On Thursday, a 20-year ceasefire between the Burmese army and the armed ethnic groups broke down after government forces moved to occupy Kokang territory. Since then, the Burmese army has sent reinforcements into the area from Light Infantry Divisions 33 and 99.

The crisis began on Monday, when tens of thousands of refugees, including Chinese businessmen, started flooding across the border into China from Laogai, a town in Kokang territory. Cross-border trade in Laogai has since come to a standstill and trading at other border checkpoints has decreased, say sources in the area.

The rapidly deteriorating situation caused consternation in Beijing, which has long had close relations with both sides in the conflict. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said China hoped the Burmese junta would deal with the situation properly and ensure stability along the border and protect Chinese citizens in Burma.

“China is following the situation closely and has expressed concern to Myanmar [Burma],” said Jiang.

Some observers said that junta head Snr-Gen Than Shwe’s decision to send troops into Kokang territory despite China’s concerns showed his determination to demonstrate that he will not be constrained by Beijing.

“The Burmese junta doesn’t care what anybody thinks, so I don’t think the generals are thinking about China’s response,” said Chan Tun, a former Burmese ambassador to China.

But while Naypyidaw showed little concern about the consequences of renewed fighting in the area, Beijing couldn’t ignore the worsening situation, as Chinese living near the border expressed outrage at the Burmese military’s actions.
 
“I feel upset with the Burmese government. The Kokang people have Chinese blood. And in China, many people are so angry that they are urging the Chinese government to send troops to help the Kokang,” said a Chinese journalist who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Although Beijing appears to have defused the potentially explosive situation for the time being, it remains to be seen if fighting will resume between the Burmese and the Wa, who command a much larger military force than the Kokang.

The current conflict stems from the refusal of ethnic ceasefire groups, including Kokang, Wa, Kachin and Shan militias, to transform themselves into border security forces under Burmese military command.

The 20,000-strong UWSA presents the greatest obstacle to Burmese ambitions to pacify the country’s borders after six decades of civil conflict. Although they were among the first ethnic groups to sign a ceasefire agreement with the current regime in 1989, they have also been the most resistant to any effort to weaken their hold over their territory.

In Rangoon, news of the clashes in the country’s north has revived memories of the insurgencies that wracked the region for decades.

“People here are talking about it at teashops. They are saying that this is the return of civil war,” said an editor of a private weekly journal in Rangoon.

Meanwhile, Burma’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), called for a peaceful resolution of the ongoing conflict in northern Burma.

“We want the junta to resolve the issue in a peaceful way with ethnic groups,” NLD spokesman Han Thar Myint told The Irrawaddy on Saturday.



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COMMENTS (11)
 
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TACTIC Wrote:
01/09/2009
Ambush tactics will work in Burma. They just need more patience.

All ethnic groups should unite and begin ambushing in Naypyidaw, which would be a good "playground" geographically instead of waiting for the junta armies to come into their territories.

miandianren Wrote:
31/08/2009
The Union of Myanmar is just Bamar hegemony over the other races. It can only be called a true union when all parties benefit from the arrangement. Right now only the SPDC benefits from the union. As long as the SPDC refuses to negotiate a real and lasting political settlement then groups like the Kokang and Wa will continue to look for support from their ethnic brethren in China.

Free Man Wrote:
31/08/2009
Although it is true that the SPDC took over KNU/KNLA major bases, it would be a stretch to say that the SPDC "defeated" the KNU/KNLA.

Politically, the KNU/KNLA remains firm and strong. Militarily, the "killed in action" ratio between the KNU/KNLA and the SPDC army from January 1 to June 30, 2009 was 1:68.2, and the "wounded in action" ratio was 1:77.4.

Than Lwin Wrote:
31/08/2009
I think the USA and the rest of the ethnic groups should not wait until the junta reinforces and should just go and fight
them now.

That is the only way they will stop them.

Kyaw Win Wrote:
30/08/2009
Does Kokang belongs to Myanmar or China?

kyaw swar aung Wrote:
30/08/2009
Kokang army officials think only about their benefits. They don't even think about their people. They don't have union spirit. They don't respect the Union of Myanmar.

Instead, they pay respect to Chinese Government. Myanmar is a union of about 135 national races and thus, they should respect other races and keep union solidarity which is essential for our country and our people.

KKK Wrote:
30/08/2009
Junta defeated KNU and Kokang. Which ethnic group is next in the line? Kayah? KIO or KIA or KDA? Chin? SSA North and SSA South? Palong? PLO? UWSA? Mon?

All ethinc armed groups should learn how to play TV games.

George Than Setkyar Heine Wrote:
30/08/2009
Why did Kokang troops surrender their weapons to the Chinese?

I feel upset with the Burmese government. The Kokang people have Chinese blood. And in China, many people are so angry that they are urging the Chinese government to send troops to help the Kokang, said a Chinese journalist.

That is what is happening in Georgia today.
China cannot afford to lose Burma, at least not yet.

Let's wait what happens when Than Shwe moves on Wa and other ethnic Chinese based rebels up north.

Than Shwe's job is to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Burma at all costs, as it is the obligation of all people born and grew up in Burma.

At this juncture he has only two options.
Gang up with Daw Suu and her people and together defend Burma's territory and sovereignty or bow down to ethnic Chinese proxies and let them have their way until Burma becomes a province of China like it was in 1886 a province of India under British rule.

Than Shwe should know better if he is not stupid.

tocharian Wrote:
30/08/2009
Whether you support the present regime in Burma or not, a sovereign country cannot legally tolerate independent armies in their territory.

Khin Nyunt was a fool. He did it to enrich himself.

tocharian Wrote:
30/08/2009
The Uighurs and the Tibetans should also have their own army!

Kokang Wrote:
29/08/2009
We did lose the war, but we did't lost our faith. Our people are still supporting us.

Around 200 Burmese soldiers died, but we only lost about 30. Burmese soldiers murdered more than 100 of our local villagers.

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