China-Myanmar Border Issues Pose Challenge to Beijing

China must make a decision: whether or not they want stability on their borders and stability for all of their investment in Myanmar….reports Asian Lite News

A concerted attack by three ethnic groups along the China-Myanmar border in northeastern Myanmar calls China’s stance on regional stability into question, a Burmese-American analyst, Miemie Winn Byrd said, adding that China must now decide if it is the stability or influence that is more important in the area.

In an interview with Voice of America, the analyst said that the recent offensive at the China-Myanmar border has resulted in the takeover of numerous military posts, control of major roads and the surrender of over 100 soldiers.

“Operation 1027” was started on October 27 in the northern Shan state near the China border by the Three Brotherhood Alliance, which included the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and the Arakan Army, according to VOA News.

Byrd, who holds a doctorate in education, is a former US Army lieutenant colonel and has been associated with the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies since 2007. She has extensive expertise in US-Myanmar relations and Southeast Asian security dynamics.

She said that China has no authority over these organisations since, up until now, China has been attempting to coerce them into sitting down with the military for a cease-fire agreement.

The security interests of going after the organised crime ring operating in that area. So they were allowed to use it, but I don’t believe China granted them permission. However, I believe China has backed off from putting pressure on them, she added.

On being asked if the Chinese government has often sent its high-ranking representatives to Myanmar and is in close contact with the junta, Byrd, citing data, stated that they (the junta) no longer control the country — a very small fraction of the country is controlled by the State Administrative Council, SAC, Min Aung Hlaing’s military regime.

China must make a decision: whether or not they want stability on their borders and stability for all of their investment in Myanmar. They want someone they can influence in power since military governments have always been manipulable. Myanmar was sold over to China far more during the military dictatorship, and China benefited far more than it could during the civilian government, she told VOA.

On US policy on Myanmar, she said that Democracy is the best defence against manipulation by the major powers for any country, and that has always been the ultimate policy of the US — to support a democratic regime in Myanmar.

China exerts pressure on the ethnic armed groups it supports to avoid dealing with the United States, but they provide little in return. Everything that armed groups obtain must be purchased.

The Chinese do not provide free assistance because it is transactional. It’s all about China getting what’s best for them and then sucking [the other side] dry. So, China does not want the groups to come closer to us, but it also does not provide much of an alternative, VOA quoted Byrd as saying.

Myanmar’s military government has lost control of Chinshwehaw, an important town on the border with China, following days of fighting with armed groups, Al Jazeera reported on Thursday.

In a significant setback for the military leaders who seized power from Myanmar’s elected government in February 2021, they have struggled to quell opposition to their rule.

Zaw Min Tun, a government spokesman, said on Wednesday that “government, administrative organisations, and security organisations are no longer present” in Chinshwehaw.

Chinshwehaw, a town bordering China’s Yunnan province, holds vital importance in facilitating trade between Myanmar and China. State media reported that more than 25 per cent of Myanmar’s USD 1.8 billion border trade with China passed through Chinshwehaw from April to September, citing the Ministry of Commerce.

This development follows days of conflict in Myanmar’s northern Shan state, where the army has been engaged in battles with a coalition of three ethnic rebel groups known as the Brotherhood Alliance. (ANI)

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