Bowing to pressure from China, ailing United Wa State Army (UWSA) leader Bao Youxiang is at last on his way to Tangyan, 83 miles south of Shan State North capital Lashio, for a “final meeting” with Naypyitaw’s chief negotiator Lt-Gen Ye Myint tomorrow, according to a source close to the Wa leadership.
7 other members are on the Wa delegation but their identities have not been disclosed except for U Aung Myint aka Li Julieh, who will act as his interpreter. “Suffice to say his closest aide Zhao Zhongdang has been left behind to keep house,” he said.
Bao, who has for years been suffering from a chronic case of trichinosis, was “advised” by a Chinese official on Monday, 22 February, to accept the invitation from Naypyitaw for the meeting, according to him.Contrary to the report yesterday, which was given by another source, this source, who is younger and more active, says no Chinese officials will be accompanying Bao’s entourage. “We heard they will be coming from Rangoon to observe the meeting,” he said.
Bao Youxiang and U Aung Myint photo: UWSA
Its southern ally, Mongla, meanwhile, has been quiet. “I think whether or not there’ll be a meeting with us depends on tomorrow’s outcome of the meeting with Chairman Bao,” said an officer from Mongla-based National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA). As for the Shan State Army (SSA) North, the Wa’s western ally, its leader Loimao had met Maj- Gen Aung Than Tut, Commander of Lashio-based Northeastern Region Command, on Tuesday, 23 February, in Lashio, according to a source on the Sino-Burma border. “No details have been disclosed to me, except that Chairman Loimao has made an appointment with his Vice Chairman Gaifa and Chief of Staff Pangfa some time today or tomorrow,” he said.
Both Gaifa and Pangfa are currently based at Wanhai, Kehsi township, Shan State South.
The said three groups together with Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) have been opposed to Naypyitaw’s Border Guard Force Program, introduced last April, which aims to place them under its command. The said ceasefire groups say they will accept it only when their rights of autonomy are guaranteed.