Chinese Troops Sent to Myanmar Border, says TNLA

By Kyaw Kha 1 August 2017

YANGON — Chinese troops are positioning along the China-Myanmar border in preparation of further conflict between the Tatmadaw and rebels, according to an ethic armed group.

Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers have been deployed along the border areas near Mongko, Kyukote (Pang Hseng) and Namhkam townships in Shan State since July 25, said brigadier general Mai Phone Kyaw, spokesman of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).

“The security from the China side has increased because China was given the wrong information from the Myanmar side that our troops would be attacking and bombing in Lashio and Muse,” he said.

The TNLA, along with its Northern Alliance partners the Kachin Independent Army (KIA), Kokang’s Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), and the Arakan Army (AA), launched an operation on the 105-mile border trade zone in on November 20, 2016.

With fighting ongoing between Tatmadaw troops and the MNDAA and TNLA in northern Shan State, the Chinese may have anticipated another operation by the Northern Alliance and readied their forces in order to avoid an impact on China, said U Maung Maung Soe, an analyst on federal and ethnic affairs.

“Before, the Chinese would prepare security on its border after fighting had occurred. Now they inquire about the information first, and then plan for the security on their border,” said the analyst.

China had received incorrect intelligence warning of a Northern Alliance attack on border townships, said brigadier general Mai Phone Kyaw, adding that the Chinese government had asked them for confirmation about another possible attack recently.

The brigadier general explained that although there were clashes with the Tatmadaw in areas controlled by the MNDAA and TNLA, the alliance has no plans to conduct another operation similar to that of November 20.

“We told the Chinese [intelligence department and foreign affairs ministry] that now is the rainy season and that it is true there has been heavy fighting but we would not carry out such an act without necessity,” said Mai Phone Kyaw.

The Irrawaddy could not reach the public affair and psychological warfare director’s office under the defense ministry for government comment on the reports of a coming attack.

Dr. Hla Kyaw Zaw, an expert on Myanmar affairs who is based on the China-Myanmar border, told The Irrawaddy, “The peace process has become broken but it can be fixed again. It will not be straightforward. As now is the rainy season, there won’t be any operations, but we don’t know what will come after the rain is over.”

The KIA, TNLA, MNDAA and AA are also members of the Federal Political Negotiation Consultative Committee (FPNCC), which was formed with seven ethnic armed groups and led by the United Wa State Army (UWSA) to hold peace talks with the government.