Chinese officials had urged ceasefire groups opposing the Border Guard Force (BGF) program to continue negotiating Naypyitaw-drawn with junta authorities until an agreement acceptable to all is reached, according to a source close to the Mongla-based National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA).
“It could not be an agreement as dictated by one side as Lt-Gen Ye Myint (junta chief negotiator) has been trying to achieve,” a Chinese official was quoted as saying.
During several meetings held between the Burma Army and the ceasefire groups, the latter, while accepting the “One country one military” principle, had resisted Naypyitaw’s insistence on having junta officers at the battalion levels. On the Burma Army’s side, it had stood fast on acceptance by the ceasefire groups of its program to the last detail.
The meeting with the Chinese officials had taken place before 15 April, when 4 ceasefire groups: NDAA, Kachin Independence Organization, Shan State Army “North” and United Wa State Army, met in the Wa territory for a joint “No” resolution to the BGF.
Apart from the Shan State Army “North,” all are based along the Sino-Burma border. The only non-ceasefire group active along the border is the Shan State Army “South”’s Force 701.
Sai Leun, leader of NDAA photo: S.H.A.N
China stands to lose if hostilities breaks out on its border, according to him. “It is therefore doing its utmost to prevent another Kokang-like incident,” he said.
Kokang, tucked away in the northeastern corner of Shan State, was attacked and occupied by the Burma Army in August 2009, after the group’s leader Peng Jiasheng turned down the BGF program proposed by Naypyitaw 4 months earlier.
To head off a renewal of war, China, “as I see it,” has formulated the following policy, he added:
- China will recognize the new government formed after the planned elections
- She will not be instigating one Burma group against another
- She will not support any insurrection against the central government
- She also will not encourage any splittist (meaning secession) movements
- She will instead urge all stakeholders to continue working toward a solution acceptable to all
Since last month, the overall situation along the front lines between the Burma Army and the ceasefire groups appears to have calmed down though war preparations and security measures on both sides are continuing.
“The junta’s first priority now seems to be victory in the upcoming polls,” one Chinese official was said to have told the ceasefire groups.
“Our position,” he said, “is 4-fold”:
- We will not surrender
- We will not become BGFs
- We will continue to observe the ceasefire agreement and not shoot first
- All those concerned about Burma must urge the generals to honor the 1947 Panglong Agreement that promised self rule for the non-Burman states
“China is our friend,” he concluded. “But in the end our survival depends on our own vigilance and efforts.”