Wa, Mongla grill junta on Shan offensive

WEDNESDAY, 23 MARCH 2011 13:11 S.H.A.N.

Both the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) had questioned junta officials yesterday on the Burma Army offensive against their ally Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’ that began on 13 March, according to reports coming from Sino-Burma border.

“We are supposed to resolve our problems through political means, not by force of arms,” one Mongla official was quoted as telling the Burmese delegation returning from seeing off their Chinese counterparts at Daluo following a quarterly border committee meeting in Kengtung. (The road from Kengtung to Daluo passes through Mongla, the NDAA’s main base). “The G1 (Staff Officer Grade1) was unable to come up with an answer.”

Meanwhile, Burmese officials who were seeing off their Chinese counterparts in Panghsang, the Wa capital, following a one-day meeting in Tangyan, were also quizzed by the Wa leadership with the same question.

“The Burmese delegation led by Tun Tun Nyi had replied they had ordered the SSA to move all their units to their main base Wanhai, but the SSA had not complied, which had led to clashes between the two,” said a source close to the leadership.

During the meeting the head of the Burmese delegation from Kengtung had demanded why the NDAA troops were still stationed at the strategic Pang Nao mountain (8,542 ft), contrary to Kengtung’s order. “One our leaders replied that there wasn’t any sufficient reason to move out.”

According to other sources, Burmese authorities had lodged a complaint with China for its recent 100 metric ton rice donation to Panghsang without Naypyitaw’s authorization. “It was in acknowledgement of the Wa cooperation in the joint campaign against drug smugglers in Panghsang that began in February,” explained an informed source from the border.

Both the Wa and Mongla have an agreement with the SSA North to come to the aid of each other if one of them is attacked. So far, neither has sent any troops across the Salween to relieve the beleaguered SSA led by Maj Gen Pang Fa.

“China, who has warned both sides not to start a war on its doorstep, could be one big reason for the indecision of Wa and Mongla, whose areas adjoin China,” commented a retired Shan officer.

A statement issued by Panghsang on 19 March in Burmese states: “Existing differences and contradictions should be managed by Political Dialogue, Discussion on Equal Footing and Peaceful Resolution. We will oppose any settlements through intimidation and military means.”

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