In a surprise move, China in a day and night operation, has begun constructing military barracks for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on its border with Burma, local eyewitnesses reported.
A four-storey building is coming up, which is to house several military officers on the border town of Manghai in its southwest Yunnan province, opposite Mongkoe town in Burma’s northern Shan State, the eyewitnesses added.
In utmost secrecy and in an unusual move, the main four-storey building and other accommodation for soldiers is being constructed in Manghai since August this year.
The military barracks will house Chinese armed forces personnel, known worldwide as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) after construction is completed, said sources among former soldiers of the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) in Mongkoe.
One PLA battalion will be stationed at the new border military base. The four-storey building under construction will have the battalion command office, added the sources.
Slg. Bum Htoi, a military analyst based in Mongkoe told Kachin News Group today that, “It is unusual for Chinese soldiers of the PLA to be stationed near the troubled Burma border. I think Chinese troops are being stationed there to monitor foreign troops, especially U.S. soldiers should they enter Burma”.
The Chinese troops will also protect hundreds of thousands of its nationals in Burma if a Burma-China conflict breaks out in politically unstable Burma as it did during Gen Ne Win’s tenure in Burma between 1962 and 1988, Bum Htoi added.
Now, China is not overtly worried of a possible China-Burma conflict because over 200,000 retired Chinese soldiers, especially young people are spread across Burma as entrepreneurs, businessmen and workers in Chinese companies over the last four years, This is especially true in areas like lower Burma, such as Mandalay and Rangoon, according to sources close to Chinese security agents on the border.
China is quickly constructing a new PLA military base in Manghai township in Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture in its southwest Yunnan provice, one mile from the Burma border. Photo: Kachin News Group
China is firm in its belief that the experienced retired soldiers would join the Chinese government to protect Chinese citizens in Burma in the event of a conflict breaking out, sources added.
However, construction of government buildings, have been stepped up significantly around Manghai Township, said eyewitnesses.
Traders on the border report that China is into a lot of construction activity related to business infrastructure in areas bordering Burma, because it has invested a staggering amount of money on gas pipeline projects in Rahkai State, mining sectors and poured funds in many dam projects. The electricity and the produce from investments will be dispatched to China through Yunnan province.
A Kachin political analyst on the border said, China is becoming worried about increasing U.S. influence on Burma. More than fearing it may lose its huge investments in the military-ruled Southeast Asian country, it is concerned about US domination of Burma.