Two high ranking military officers from China and Burma met secretly in Mangshi on June 23 night in China’s southwest Yunnan province, bordering Burma for talks on capturing Laiza, the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), said Mangshi sources.
At the meeting the Burmese Army officer asked China to permit crossing of the border by Burmese troops and its allies to attack and capture Laiza, said sources.
The meeting was joined by regional Chinese military officials and Burmese military officials from Naypyidaw and Lashio-based Northeastern Regional Command including officers from Konghka militia group, formerly known as Kachin Defense Army (KDA), said sources close to the meeting.
Civilians supporting the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and its allies in Northern Burma were threatened with death on June 21 by a Burmese battalion commander, said sources among local pro-government militia groups.
The chilling warning came from Lt-Col Soe Shwe Commander of Tamonye-based Infantry Battalion No. 290 when he met local militiamen from two groups— Mung Hkawm and Mung Baw in Mung Hkawm village in Muse district in Northern Shan State, said participants.
A local militiaman said the Burmese commander told the meeting that civilians supporting the KIA and its militia allies with meals, ration and military information will be punished with death without any warning.
The KIA’s Brigade 4 is based in Loikang near Mungji and its five battalions— 2, 8, 9, 17 and 29 are based around Northern Shan State.
There are over ten militia groups in Northern Shan State close to the military-dominated Burmese government along with Chinese businessmen into illegal drug business. Almost all militia groups were formed with neighbouring Chinese citizens for illegal drug business.
Chinese militiamen loyal to the Burmese government are fleeing to the Chinese border town Manghai, opposite the Burmese border town of Mongkoe after the war erupted between the Burmese Army and KIA on June 9, said residents of Munggu (Mongkoe).
Financial Times (UK): It is time to fine-tune sanctions on Burma – Markus Loening
It was strange to be the first high-ranking European to visit Burma since the country’s supposed democratic breakthrough. Since November’s flawed elections we have been trying to steer the country towards democracy, yet no one I met seemed to know who was in charge. Was the “old man” – the supposedly retired military dictator Than Shwe – still pulling the strings? Big pictures of the Junta’s former strongman hog public spaces apparently because the Burmese are afraid to take them down. Eight months after large crowds cheered the release from house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi, the dissident Nobel laureate, there is still confusion in this small but politically sensitive Asian nation.Human rights continue to be violated, ordinary citizens are scared of voicing their views, ethnic conflicts have not been resolved and there is a huge problem brewing with refugees and internally displaced people. As we are discovering in the Arab world, there is no straightforward way of moving from dictatorship to democracy.
I was struck though in every meeting – with civil society activists, opposition party leaders, with Ms Suu Kyi herself – by the strength of optimism in Burma. There was real hope for political change that seemed impossible even three months ago. Again and again, patience was urged on me.
Should we give Burma more time? How can the European Union build on the optimism of the Burmese, their natural dynamism, while still keeping pressure on the regime? It is a complex balancing act.
But we have to act soon, and together, if we are to influence policy there. The EU has just extended its economic and political sanctions against Burma to April 2012. That is a right step. But the sanctions should be fine-tuned, linked to performance and lifted, stage by stage, to reward progress. They should not be allowed to become a blunt instrument. If the government is serious about change it will set about releasing political prisoners – some of whom have suffered far worse than Ms Suu Kyi’s 15 years of house arrest – and it will open a genuine national dialogue including the ethnic and political opposition groups. The aim has to be free and fair by-elections in November. Each liberalising move should be acknowledged by the west.
By the end of this year, the EU has to decide whether Burma can be included again, at least partly, in our general system of trade preferences. That is a big carrot to dangle before the government. Despite considerable natural resources, the country and the people are poor. Opening up the markets to Burma, allowing it to attract foreign investors, would ease modernisation and relieve poverty. Continue reading “Germany-and-Burma Business-before-human-rights”