Chronology of Chinese-Burmese Relations

Chronology of Chinese-Burmese Relations

By IRRAWADDY Wednesday, January 1, 2003


October 1: Mao Zedong proclaims the Peoples' Republic of China in Beijing.

December17: Burma recognizes the Peoples' Republic of China.


January-March: Over 2,000 Kuomintang (KMT) forces from Yunnan cross the border to set up base in Kengtung, eastern Shan state following the Communist victory in China.


April: The Democratic Nationalities United Front (DNUF) is formed in the hills near Papun by Karen, Karenni, Pa-O and Mon rebels. Another Chinese army unit enters the Wa hills and clashes with the Burmese Army.

June 28-29: Chinese foreign minister Zhou Enlai visits Rangoon.

July 30: Defense Minister Ba Swe says that Burma is going to the UN to have Nationalist China declared an aggressor and unseated from the world body. September: Lt-Gen Ne Win leads a high power military delegation to China. They visit munitions factories and army training establishments.

November: U Nu (in his capacity as AFPFL President) visits China and meets with Zhou Enlai. China agrees to withdraw all its forces from disputed border areas in Kachin State. Anti-Fascist People Freedom League [AFPFL].

November: Thirty Chinese soldiers enter the Wa Hills and clash with the same number of troops from the Burmese army.

December 1-16:U Nu visits China. More talks are held about the border question and the question of nationality of Chinese residents in Burma.


The first trade agreement between the two countries is signed.


September 4-early October: U Nu visits China and attends China's National Day celebrations with a delegation of more than 400 persons.

October: A boundary treaty between China and Burma is signed in Beijing.


January 2-9: Zhou Enlai visits Burma. The border agreement is ratified. An economic and technical cooperation agreement is signed on 9 January, according to which the Chinese pledge to give Burma an interest-free loan of ?30 million to be disbursed during the period 1 October 1961 to 30 September.

January 26: A combined force of three divisions (20,000 troops) of regulars from the Chinese Peoples' Liberation Army (PLA) and 5,000 Burmese troops attack KMT bases north of Kengtung, Shan State. The campaign is codenamed the "Mekong River Operation".

April: A joint US-Taiwan communiqu? says that "the 6,000 KMT soldiers remaining in Burma's Shan State are not in any way connected or concerned with the US government or The Republic of China.

October 10-15: U Nu visits China.


February 24: China issues a protest against US intervention in Vietnam, saying it poses a "direct threat" to North Vietnam and jeopardizes "the security of China and the peace in Asia"

August 1:Communist Party of Burma [CPB] exiles in China are allowed to issue their first public statement, condemning the new military regime.


September 3: The third group of CPB members, led by Thakin Ba Thein Tin, returns from China to Rangoon to participate in peace talks.

November: Thakin Ba Thein Tin returns to Beijing from Rangoon. CPB members Khin Maung Gyi, San Thu and Thein Aung return from Moscow to Beijing where they rejoin Thakin Ba Thein Tin and the others. Thakin Ba Thein Tin, Khin Maung Gyi, Thakin Than Myaing, Than Shwe and Tin Yee set up a "leading group of five" in Beijing to prepare for a China-sponsored push into Burma. San Thu begin to survey the Sino-Burmese border areas for possible infiltration routes into northeastern Burma. Naw Seng's Kachins, who have been staying in Guizhou, go to Sichuan for talks with Thakin Ba Thein Tin and other CPB leaders.


July 24-August 1:Ne Win visits China. A joint communiqu? is issued, reaffirming the 1961 treaty and five principles of peaceful coexistence.


January 27: One hundred and thirty two Naga rebels from northeastern India reach the Yunnan frontier, having been trekking through northern Burma since 24 Oct 1966. Led by Thuingaleng Muivah and Thinoselie M.Keyho, they are received by the Chinese, who provide them with political and military training.

June 19:The Ministry of Education bans the wearing of all "unauthorised badges" by students. The order is aimed at the wearing of Mao badges primarily by students of ethnic Chinese origin in Rangoon.

June 26:Two thousand Burmese gather outside two Chinese schools in Rangoon.

June 28:One thousand three hundred and twenty eight Chinese in Rangoon are detained. The Chinese embassy protests officially against the incident.

June 29: The Chinese embassy in Rangoon is attacked by demonstrators. Beijing announces that its ambassador will not return to Rangoon. Official Burmese sources say over fifty Chinese were killed during the period 22-29 June; the Chinese say that several hundred were killed.

July 7: China's aid program to Burma is suspended.

July 16: A correspondent for the New China News Agency is expelled from Burma.

August 11: The Chinese foreign minister delivers protest to the Burmese embassy in Beijing, accusing Burmese aircraft of intruding into Yunnan.

August 21: All Burmese students studying in China are recalled. Critical Burmese sources claim that the anti-Chinese riots were stirred up the government to deflect attention from acute rice shortages.

August-September: The Kachin rebels send their first delegation to China, led by Brang Seng. They visit Beijing and Shanghai.

October 6: All Chinese technicians are ordered to leave Burma.


January 1: Several hundred heavily armed CPB troops, led by Kachin wartime hero Naw Seng, cross the border from China and capture Mong Ko in northeastern Shan state. All-out Chinese support for the CPB insurgence begins.

January 5: CPB troops led by Pheung Kya-Shin and Pheung Kya Fu cross the border from China into Kokang area in northeastern Shan State.

April 6: China protests against "unwarranted arrests" of ethnic Chinese in Burma.


A new trade agreement is signed giving each country most-favored nation status.


December 15-18: Shan State Army (SSA) leaders Hso Hten and Hso Noom appeal for help from the CPB during a meeting at Panghsang. The first links between the SSA and the CPB are established. The Shan and Karen rebel delegations to Panghsang are invited to visit China. They travel to Simao and Kunming.


November 11-15: Ne Win visits China for four days, and reaches an agreement that there will be no "aggressive acts" between the two nations.


July 12: Rangoon announces a new US$ 63 million aid agreement with China for unspecified projects.

November 28: China's foreign minister, Huang Hua, arrives in Burma.


July 10: The government announces that the Chinese aid programme signed in Beijing on 12 July 1979 will consist of eight projects: the building of the Rangoon-Syriam bridge, 40,000 spindle yarn-making machines, three rice mills with 150 ton per day capacity, the supply of water to Moulmein city, and three million renminbi-yuan for machinery and tools.


December: Border trade is officially opened between the two countries.


February 20: The CPB's politburo holds a crisis meeting at Panghsang. It is revealed that Chinese have approached the CPB and offered the leaders retirement in China. The CPB leadership reacts angrily to the suggestion, saying: "We have no desire to become revisionists."

October 18-29: A 24-man senior Burmese military delegation, led by Lt-Gen Than Shwe, visits China.


August 10: The first major shipment of arms and ammunition from China arrives in Rangoon.


January: State Councillor and Sec-Gen of the State Council, Luo Gan visits Burma.

Early May: Eleven Chinese-made F7 jet fighters are delivered to Burma as part of a US$1 billion arms deal between Beijing and Rangoon which also includes naval patrol boats, tanks, armoured personnel carriers, light arms, anti- aircraft guns and missiles, ammunition and other military equipment.

August 21-26: Gen.Saw Maung visits China. He meets Prime Minister Li Peng and President Yang Shangkun, who promise more political and military aid to Rangoon.

November: Deputy Chief of General Staff He Qizong visits Burma.


February: State Councillor and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen visit Burma.

September 1: Burma opens a consulate in Kunming, China.


August: General Li Jiulong, commander of China's Chengdu military region visits Burma. Chengdu is the command headquarters and major supply base for Chinese troops in Tibet.

August: Burma buys two modified Jianghu-class Chinese frigates.

August: Chinese consulate in Mandalay opens.

September: Khin Nyunt visits China.

September 2: Burmese airforce chief, Lt-Gen Thein Win, goes to Kunming, China to oversee the delivery of another squadron of military aircraft from China.

September 29: Burma signs an agreement with a leading Chinese shipping firm in Rangoon to purchase new ships for Myanmar Five Star Shipping Line.

November: Sec-2 Tin Oo visits China.

December 26-28: Chinese Premier Li Peng visits Burma at the invitation of Than Shwe, the head of the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC).


Defense Minister Chi Haotian visits Burma.


January 7: Senior Gen Than Shwe makes his first visit to China since taking over as Chairman of ruling SLORC in 1992.

October: Army Chief Gen Maung Aye visits China.


March: Chairman Li Ruihuan visits Burma.

October: Vice-Premier Wu Bangguo visits Burma.

December 14-16: Senior Gen Than Shwe meets with Jiang Zemin in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at the second Asean informal summit.


Burma and China sign a US$ 250 million loan deal under which Beijing agrees to provide funds for a 280 megawatts hydroelectric power plant near Pyinmana.

The Burmese government allows the publication of two local Chinese language newspapers—Mian Dien Huo Bao (The Burmese Morning Post) and Shijie Ribao (Universal Daily)—that target readers both in Burma and other countries in the region.

May: Junta blasts George Fernandes, Indian Defense Minister, for accusing Rangoon of allowing China to set up military installations within its territory.


June: Burma-China bilateral trade, including border trade, reaches US$ 78.21 million in the first two months of the year, a sharp increase of 123.7% over the $34.95 million figure registered in the same period the prior year, according to Burma's Central Statistical Organization.

June: Lt Gen Khin Nyunt visits China .

December: Foreign Minister Win Aung visits China.


May 2-5: Engineers from China's armed forces meet with Burmese military officers at a naval base in Tenasserim Division according to a Radio Free Asia report. The meetings focus on the construction of two bases in the area with assistance from the Chinese Navy and Air Forces.

May 31: Chinese State Councillor Ismail Amat meets with Prime Minister Than Shwe and Sec-1 Lt Gen Khin Nyunt.

June 5: Gen Maung Aye meets with Chinese president Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji on separate occasions in Hong Kong and China, and holds talks with Vice-President Hu Jintao. The sides sign a joint statement on the framework of future bilateral relations and cooperation.

July 16: Vice President Hu Jintao and Deputy Foreign Minister Wang Guangya, meet with PM Than Shwe, Gen Maung Aye,

Lt Gen Khin Nyunt, and Lt Gen Tin Oo in Burma.

August 6: Chinese Deputy of Foreign Affairs meets with Sec-1 Lt Gen Khin Nyunt, Minister of Foreign Affairs Win Aung and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Khin Maung Win.

September: A new special trade zone intended to open an outlet to Southeast Asia is established on the border between Burma and Yunnan, China. Meanwhile, the Bank of China approves a US$120 million loan to the Myanmar Electric Power Enterprise to build a massive hydroelectric generator.

October 25: Sec-3 Lt Gen Win Myint pays a goodwill visit to the Chinese Association for International Understanding.

November 24: Fang Zuqi Political Commissar of Nanjing Military Command of the People’s Liberation Army meets with Army Chief Gen Maung Aye.


January 17: Chinese Minister of Public Security Jia Chunwang meets with Sec-1 Lt Gen Khin Nyunt.

April 25: General Fu Quangyou, Chief of General Staff Headquarters for China’s People’s Liberation Army meets with Prime Minister Than Shwe and Army Chief Gen Maung Aye.

May 7: Maj-Gen Nyunt Tin, Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation, observes the Chinese agriculture industry and factories that produce machinery for water distribution.

December 12-16 Jiang Zemin visits Burma and signs economic and border agreements.


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