The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has banned the transporting of cement from the China border to Kachin State, Northern Burma, KIA officials said.
The ban is aimed to stop construction of a huge dam at Mali-N’Mai Zup (Myitsone in Burmese), the Confluence of the Irrawaddy River (Mali Hka Nu in Kachin). The dam site is also one of the historic birthplaces of Kachin civilization, said KIA officials at its Laiza headquarters.
A KIA officer told the Kachin News Group, “The Myitsone dam construction is a threat to the public. Chinese workers transport construction materials from the border. We mainly banned cement.”
Other construction materials including metal, pipe and limestone powder are also banned by the KIA, according to border traders.
However, passenger travel and food imports from China are not banned, added the traders.
A resident of Waingmaw on the Myitkyina-Kambaiti border trade route said, “It is no problem for travelers and food imports and exports. But, cement imports are completely banned.”
There are four major border trade routes with China in Kachin State— Myitkyina to Laiza (KIA), Myitkyina to Kambaiti, Manmaw (Bhamo) to Loije and Manmaw to Nam Hkam.
Chinese cement has been banned from those routes since June 9th, the day the Burmese government started its offensive against the KIA at Sang Gang, near Taping (Dapein) Dam, in N’Mawk Township, in Manmaw district.
The state-owned China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) and the military-backed Burmese government have been constructing the dam at Myitsone since December, 2009, neglecting the people of Kachin State.
On March 16, the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the political wing of the KIA, sent an open letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao, requesting him to stop construction of the Irrawaddy Myitsone dam because it will lead to civil in Burma.
Despite the KIA’s cement ban and the ongoing civil war in Kachin State, China is continuing construction of the Myitsone Dam as well as transporting construction equipment, according to the Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG).