Chinese Envoy Meets Members of Myanmar’s Northern Alliance in Yunnan

By Kyaw Kha 5 November 2019

YANGON—Chinese Special Envoy for Asian Affairs Sun Guoxiang told the Northern Alliance to continuously engage in the peace process at a meeting in China last week.

The special envoy met delegates of the Northern Alliance in Yunnan Province on Oct. 31, according to information officer Major Mai Ai Kyaw of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), which is a member of the alliance along with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Arakan Army (AA).

“He mainly talked about China’s support for Myanmar’s peace process and called for the holding of continuous peace talks,” Maj. Mai Ai Kyaw told The Irrawaddy.

The representatives of the Northern Alliance also explained to the envoy the problems they are facing, he said.

Political analyst U Maung Maung Soe believes China’s intervention reflects its concerns over its railroad project linking Mandalay and Muse, on the Chinese border in Shan State.

“China is conducting surveys to build the Muse-Mandalay railroad. And it is explaining EIA [environmental impact assessment] reports [to local people] in every township [along the route]. It is likely that it will hold talks with the Myanmar government soon. So, it is trying to clear its trade route,” U Maung Maung Soe told The Irrawaddy.

The last meeting between the Northern Alliance and the government took place in Kengtung in eastern Shan State in the second week of September. The two sides reached agreement over seven points including troop deployment and de-escalation of clashes.

The two sides agreed to meet again in October. That did not happen, however, and sporadic clashes have taken place.

“We need to meet because there are problems. We are ready for dialogue. There are delays because of other factors related to the Tatmadaw [Myanmar’s military],” said AA spokesperson Khaing Thuka.

The Northern Alliance along with the United Wa State Army, National Democratic Alliance Army and Shan State Progress Party are members of the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee. None of the groups has yet signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.

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