Some Chinese security officers, who were reportedly present at a meeting between Burma Army and Chinese officers last weekend over Kachin Independence Army (KIA) issue, denied giving permission to the Burmese Army to launch military operations against KIA from Chinese soil, according to sources from Sino-Burma border.
The denial followed a report by the Kachin News Group released on 25 June- “Chinese-Burmese military officers meet in Mangshi on KIA”- that the Burmese Army officers had asked China to permit its troops and those of its allies to cross the border to attack and capture Laiza, the headquarters of KIA. The two sides were reported to have secretly met on the night of 23 June in Mangshi in China’s southwest Yunnan province, bordering Burma.
A Chinese official confirmed that the meeting was held at the Burma Army’s request.
“But we did not consent to their request as we thought it wasn’t a proper way to solve the problem,” he said.
Laphai Nawdin, editor of the KNG, stood by his agency’s report, and recalled a similar incident taken place in 1987, when the Burmese army reportedly entered Chinese territory to stage a surprise raid on KIA’s former headquarters Pa Jau- Na Hpaw from the rear.
“There has been a precedent. Otherwise, the Burma Army could not have occupied Pajau- Na Hpaw,” Nawdin said.
A similar incident had taken place on the Thai-Burma border on 8 February 2001, when 200 junta soldiers seized Pangnoon, a Thai base, and detained 19 paramilitary troops to attack the Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’’s base Loi Kawwan, opposite Chiangrai, from the rear. The seizure of the base ignited a military confrontation between the two countries.
However, the KIA said it has not seen any significant movement around its areas yet.
“Dozens of people in civilian clothes believed to be Burma Army agents are seen crossing the border each day,” Nawdin added.
Clashes between the Burma Army and KIA have reportedly halted but tension between the two sides has not eased, according to sources from the border. The two have been fighting since 9 June at Sang Gang in Momauk (Mong Mawk) township in Bhamo district in Kachin State, forcing over 20,000 Kachin civilians to take refuge along the Chinese border.
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Mr La Nan, Joint Secretary and spokesperson for the KIO, said in response to SHAN query:
The Chinese government has always urged Burmese authorities to work for border stability. I don’t think it will say anything that is destructive. We have also heard these reports. But in reality, it will not be as easy. China is a superpower and being so will not readily give in. If the Burmese soldiers want to enter Chinese territory all they have to do is obtain a border pass. However, we don’t think the Chinese government will allow that to happen either.