US Embassy Denies Official Requested Kachin Visit

US Myanmar foreign policy

A woman carries her child at a camp for internally displaced persons in the suburbs of Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, on July 7, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)

The US Embassy has denied reports that US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski requested a visit to the Kachin State capital Myitkyina but was turned down by Burma’s government.

Sources in the Burmese capital Naypyidaw and Kachin activists told The Irrawaddy that Malinowski was informed that he could visit the Kachin jade mining town of Hpakant, but not Myitkyina. Kachin activists said they had invited the assistant secretary to the Kachin capital.

Malinowski is on a visit to Burma from June 22-28 and leads a delegation of senior US officials from the Departments of State, Defense, and Treasury to the Mon State capital Moulmein, the Karen State capital Hpa-An, Karen State, and to Rangoon and Naypyidaw. The assistant secretary was scheduled meet with government officials, ethnic leaders, civil society representatives and politicians, as well as senior Burma Army officers.

The US Embassy, however, denied the reports that the delegation had requested to visit Myitkyina. “We did not request permission from the government to travel to Kachin state,” an embassy spokesman told The Irrawaddy.

Malinowski “had a number of meetings on his schedule this trip that touched upon a host of issues, including ways for the US government to best support national reconciliation, and our engagement in supporting efforts by all parties to achieve a sustainable peace,” the official said.

Kachin State and northern Shan State has been wracked by conflict between the Kachin Independence Army and the Burma Army since mid-2011, and some 120,000 Kachin civilians remain displaced. Despite several rounds of ceasefire talks, fighting continues and in recent months there have been reports of fierce clashes close to the Burma-China border that have displaced more civilians.

The Kachin rebels have asked for US involvement in the ceasefire talks, but this has reportedly been met with resistance from China, which is reluctant to see the US engagement with groups close to its border.

Clarification: Changes were made to the headline and lead of this story on Monday June 30, to better reflect the US Embassy’s denial of the reports that Assistant Secretary of State Malinowski had requested a visit to Myitkyina.

2 Responses to US Embassy Denies Official Requested Kachin Visit

  1. Is Myitkyina still part of Burma?

  2. U Thein Sein and Burmese military henchmen have lots of things to hide from the world in Kachin, Shan, Karen, Mon and Yakhine States. They have violated so much human rights, killed so many innocent citizens, destroyed and burned villages, houses, places of worship and schools over the last several decades. They would not let the world witness the signs, scars and destructions. Because, they don’t want to be labeled as those who committed crimes against humanity. They want to be seen as ‘reformists’, ‘progressive’, ‘democratic’ and ‘for-the-people’ in the eyes of the world so that they and their parasites can hugely benefit from foreign investments, increase in export-import, ease on travel to the West, etc., etc.

    Unfortunately and sadly, the world unwittingly (or, knowingly) falls prey to their evil tricks! Ahhhhh…so sorry for Burmese people. Military regime or the so called “civilian rule”, you will never enjoy life, your share of the country’s wealth and any basic human rights any more. All these have been quashed since March, 1962 and may be for generations to come. May God be your Savior.

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