China warned its citizens who work in Burma’s Shan State, bordering the country’s southwest Yunnan province, to return home, early last week, sources at the border said.
The urgent warning was released by Chinese authorities at Mangshi, because fighting may escalate between ethnic armed groups and the Burmese Army in the region.
China is concerned the current fighting between the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) and Burmese troops may spread to include two more powerful ethnic armed groups- the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and United Wa State Army (UWSA), also based in the region, sources close to Chinese border authorities said.
The SSA-N and KIA are military allies and members of the ethnic military and political alliance known as the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), which was formed on the Thai-Burma border in February.
There are about 2,000 Chinese working in mining, timber logging and charcoal production in the main areas of Kutkai Township and Mongkoe, (also Mung Gu) in Kachin Township.
Chinese workers are busy harvesting timber and charcoal from different areas in the two townships, said witnesses in Mung Gu.
The number of Chinese trucks crossing into the Burmese border town of Mongkoe, from Manghai in China, have more than doubled from 30 to about 70 trucks every day, witnesses said.
Currently, timbers and charcoal are being temporarily unloaded at Manghai and the trucks are busy 24-hours-a-day transporting timber and charcoal from the Burma side, according to local residents.
Truck owners who can transport faster are paid more by the timber and charcoal businessmen, truck drivers said.
Local military analysts said the Burmese government is planning to eliminate ethnic armed groups in Northern Shan State because the oil pipeline from Burma’s western coast in Arakan State (also called Rakhine State) to Ruili, in China, will cross the region.
At the same time, the construction of Chinese military posts in Manghai, the former headquarters of the Communist Party of Burma (CPB), is about to be completed. The posts will monitor the political instability in Burma, military analysts said.