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21 mars 2013 4 21 /03 /mars /2013 21:25

Asia Time http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/SEA-01-190313.html


On a visit to Europe in early March, Myanmar President Thein Sein - an ex-general turned civilian politician - claimed that ''There's no more fighting in the country, we have been able to end this kind of armed conflict'' between government forces and various ethnic resistance armies.

Back at home, the Myanmar army continues its fierce offensive against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in the country's far northern region.


China is waving a carrot to the government in Naypyidaw by pressuring the KIA and allowing Myanmar troops to detour and resupply through Chinese territory. At the same time, China is also waving sticks. According to a December report in Jane's Intelligence Review, China has allowed the United Wa State Army (UWSA), Myanmar's most powerful ethnic militia, to acquire large quantities of ''military hardware, including man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) and, for the first time in the UWSA's 23-year history, the provision of Chinese-made armored vehicles.''


China's involvement in the peace process began in earnest on January 19 when Chinese vice foreign minister Fu Ying visited Myanmar to meet with Thein Sein and armed forces commander-in-chief Gen Min Aung Hlaing. Fu, who is known for her no-nonsense approach to foreign policy issues, reportedly made it clear that Beijing wanted a stop to the fighting in Kachin State. From 1994 to 2011, the KIA had a ceasefire agreement with the government but it broke down over the core issue of whether Myanmar will function in future as a federal union or a centralized state with no real autonomy for ethnic areas.

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