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  • Writer's pictureMyat Tun Oo

What will happen if northern alliance rebels continue to attack in Burma?

What will happen if northern alliance rebels continue to attack in Burma?

These rebel groups were excluded from signing National Ceasefire Agreement(NCA) before Daw Aung San Suu Kyi came into power. The reason is Burma Army chief insisted that they just started as new groups after 2011 and therefore he could not recognise them. Therefore, these rebel groups attack different places in northern Burma bordering with China to show their force. However, Army Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing softened his stance after indirect pressure from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and he agreed to sit down with them if the rebel groups declared their intention to denounce arm struggle. This was how Nobel laureate managed to persuade him within the constraints of Burma’s constitution which gives military chief enormous power to control his own armed forces. As a result, army declared unilateral ceasefire in Burma in December 2018 except in Rakhine state where Bengali terrorist problem exists. However, this ceasefire was called into question after Arakan Army attacked police force in Rakhine state.

Normally, the spoke person of Arakan Army usually said they are winning the war and inflicted big loss to the Army. Most people ignored their claim because they are fed up with the abuse of Army in the parliament where non-elected Army representatives normally score members of parliament who are elected. Last few weeks ago, northern alliance rebels attacked few towns in eastern Burma and also destroyed few bridges and heroine X ray scanner claiming that they are under pressure from the army and they have to retaliate. This attack should not happen if they are winning the war in Rakhine state as they have claimed in the past.

As a result of this attack on the trade link between Burma and China, there are disruption of trade between the two countries. Most experts say China can easily cope without trading with Burma as they are doing well under Trump. There will be some problems for Burmese export to China via border trade in the short term. However, people will substitute Chinese products with other products from Thailand and India if the road to China is blocked by the rebels. There will be more formal trade between China and Burma as a result of this war as well. This may be economic benefit to Burma in the long term as they have to find out new export country or trade with China by sea. The only problem is that if the rebels are attacking like this, there will be no peace in the border area between Burma and China and it will be difficult for the government to allow or approve BRI projects.

What China should do for peace in Burma? We welcome China’s interest in Burma’s peace process. We need China to show real teeth with rebels and need to block the funding and weapons supply to them. If there is a will, we do believe that China can do it. China has to choose whether they will side with northern alliance and let BRI projects go or stand with friendly democratically elected government of Myanmar(Burma). I do believe that China won’t like it if weapons are going to Tibet or Xinjiang or trading illegally with rebels from China. In addition, China should also look at what rebels are doing because they are trading heroines and amphetamine and that is bad for China as well. This is the only way they can fund for their army.

I don’t think we won’t thank China for blocking resolution in UN Security Council(UNSC) because this is only protecting our army chief who is refusing to change constitution. Even if you don’t block any statements condemning Burma for Begalis(so called Rohingya), the western countries will do the similar statement to you for Xinjiang as well. Therefore, you have to block it for Burma not to set precedence in UNSC.

In conclusion, I would like to urge China to show leadership and use your intelligent apparatus to take action against rebels and any officials in the border area who are collaborating with them against Burma. China shouldn’t sit on the fence but rout out the rebels in the border area and that will benefit both countries including your BRI projects as well. This will be a win-win situation. If you keep rebels alive in the border area, it won’t be good for China and we have to look at other ways to solve this problem. I hope that China will listen to us.

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