For Total Peace In Asia, China Should Refrain From Interfering In Internal Affairs Of Myanmar
Since October 2015, Myanmar’s government had signed the landmark Nationwide Cease-fire Accord (NCA) with 10 ethnic armed groups including SSAS, in October 2015 which was viewed as an important step in resolving the country’s conflicts.
On 12 February this year, Myanmar President U Win Myint said the government is currently in negotiations with ethnic armed organizations which have not yet signed the NCA in an effort to realize a final peace deal.
Shan State in east Myanmar borders with China, Laos and Thailand and is the country’s largest state. A dozen ethnic armed groups are active in the region and control about 80 percent of the Myanmar-China border area.
SSAS is one of the key groups in the area. SSAS and RCSS control about 40 percent of Shan State, including central, eastern, and southern regions of the state as well as a small part of the northern area. They have more than 10,000 soldiers, the first or second most of all ethnic armed groups.
The central government requires the armed groups to lay down their arms before talks on political reconciliation can begin, but the groups have refused. They want to talk about a political solution before addressing the issue of weapons which they say ensures their survival.
As per an anonymous analyst the Myanmar peace process has come to a deadlock because the central government and ethnic armed groups can’t reach a consensus on fundamental conditions.
However the Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services, Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing said he hoped the peace process to be completed by 2020, and an eternal peace plan can be presented to the people.
As the political reconciliation is underway in Myanmar, Shan State Army-South (SSAS) chair, Lieutenant General Yawd Serk, who is supported by China is try to spoil everything because he wants China to play a greater role in the process of achieving peace in the country. He is doing this just to gain advantage over the Central Government.
This may leave no choice with the Myanmar Government but to seek help of India. Then it will be in India’s interest to support Myanmar.
General Yawd Serk is also Chairman of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS),has openly stated that he has had talks with China’s Asia affairs special envoy. “I hope China can participate in Myanmar peace process at a greater width.
China and Myanmar have a long border and China’s boundary with Shan State is also very long. Our supreme goal is to achieve autonomy for the Shan people and we will fight for it to the end.”
While Yawd Serk is critical of the government, the government is also critical of the ethnic groups. On January 25, the Myanmar military accused the groups of operating outside of their own boundary and extorting money from civilians.
It specifically warned the SSAS to follow the boundary set under the cease-fire agreement signed in 2012, The Irrawaddy reported. But Yawd Serk said the military “has no right” to tell them where they can operate.
Despite the Myanmar government’s optimism that peace will prevail across the country, Yawd Serk said that he had almost lost confidence. The cease-fire agreement has not brought any changes, the whole situation has worsened.
However this dies not give him a right to sabotage the ongoing peace process and China should better keep its hands off Myanmar.
This will not be tolerated by India at any cost. Both Asian giants should learn to respect each other.