TODAY -

Will Myanmar talk to the Kokang army? - I

Dr Puyam Rakesh Singh *

Burma Myanmar Flag
Burma Myanmar Flag



The unilateral ceasefire declared by the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), popularly known as Kokang Army has brought some bumpy roads ahead in the processes for signing the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) in Myanmar. It came into effect on 11 June after the Chinese government contacted the Kokang army to cease hostilities to restore normalcy. Many ethnic armed groups constituting the National Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) signed a draft NCA with the Myanmar government's peace negotiators on 31st March this year.

It happened when the Kokang Army was fighting against the Myanmar armed forces since early February. The MNDAA is a member of the NCCT, but it is not officially recognised by the Government of Myanmar. Therefore, the Kokang Army was not part of the deal. The successful negotiation and signing of the draft agreement pleased many who have been hoping to see peace in the civil war-ravaged Southeast Asian country. However, China was not satisfied with the outcome of the peace deal as the conflict in Kokang region disturbed peace and stability along the border areas.

As the conflict escalated, border security became the major theme during exchanges between the two sides. The open letter by the MNDAA leader Pheung Kya-shin (also written as Peng Jiasheng) appealing to Chinese people everywhere to offer a helping hand to the Kokang Chinese also increased ill feelings and suspicion. The conflict became a major problem following the Lincang bombing on 13th March.

Earlier, another stray bombing destroyed a house in China on 8th of the same month. The Kokang Self-administered Region shares border with Lincang Prefecture of Yunnan Province of China. The conflict in this region has affected mostly Zhenkang and Gengma Counties of Lincang Prefecture. In addition to the stray bombing cases, over 60,000 refugees took shelter in China since the beginning of the offensives in February. Geographical proximity and ethnicity are key issues. Beijing has approached Naypyitaw with a multi-pronged strategy to resolve the Kokang conflict.

Vice Foreign Minister of China, Liu Zhenmin lodged a representation to Myanmar Embassy soon after the bombing which killed five Chinese citizens and injured many others. Again, a senior officer of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), Fan Changlong, who is also a member of the Central Military Commission of the PLA threatened to take "firm and decisive action" in case of similar stray bombing in future while talking over the phone with the Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar defence forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. The two sides established a joint investigation committee to confirm the party behind the deadly bombing as blame game continued between the MNDAA and Myanmar forces. In order to normalize the situation, China appealed to the warring parties to take "China's concerns seriously". But Beijing learned it soon that it could not achieve the goal easily after so much bloodshed.

To bring an end to the conflict, Beijing made contact with the leader of the Kokang Army. This led to the unilateral ceasefire declaration mentioning China's repeated requests for stability and the Myanmar people's aspiration for peace before the general election in November. Though some Myanmar officials had called upon the group to give up arms and cease hostilities, the MNDAA announced their decision to defend itself if attacked by the government forces. Naypyitaw has no willing taker for this ceasefire and military offensives continue in the Kokang region bordering Yunnan Province of China.

Are the Kokang Chinese differently treated in Myanmar? Historical baggage and fear of the powerful neighbour meddling in the internal affairs of Myanmar could have influenced the decision-making process in Naypyitaw. Nevertheless, China has repeatedly stated its official position on non-interference and respect for Myanmar's territorial integrity and sovereignty. Reciprocity and mutual respect are necessary in diplomacy. Some issues cannot be resolved with words and statements only. Actions are necessary to win confidence of the partners. Myanmar must be expecting something from Beijing to resolve the decades-long ethnic armed conflicts along the China-Myanmar border. The MNDAA and the United Wa State Army (UWSA) are sensitive issues in China-Myanmar relationship since the break-up of the BCP.

On 29th June, China's special envoy on Asian affairs, Sun Guoxiang met Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. They discussed the future course of peace process after the rejection of the draft NCA in Law Khee Lar conference of the ethnic armed groups. For China, including the MNDAA in the peace deal to stop further spilling over of the conflict and maintaining stability in the border areas are the major aims. The position taken by the ethnic armed groups in the conference is a positive development to find a lasting peace in northern Myanmar. This, however, is not pleasing news for Myanmar government as the ethnic groups have strengthened their bargaining position for an inclusive peace deal that includes the MNDAA, the Ta'ang/Palaung National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Arakan Army.

At present, Beijing can talk about the unilateral ceasefire declaration by the Kokang Army and the resolutions of the NCCT's recent conference in Law Khee Lar in Kayin State (formerly Karen State). China has been urging Myanmar to work for stability and peace in the Kokang region. Myanmar has to maintain stability in the country to prepare for the second general election in November. The ethnic armed groups have common platforms to bargain for inclusive political solutions and some groups invited China to play a constructive role in the peace process.

Speaking at the Law Khee Lar conference, the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) spokesman, N'Ban Hla expressed clearly that the MNDAA chief played a crucial role in reaching ceasefire pacts with Myanmar government in 1989. He alleged that the Myanmar government is treating the Kokang as if they do not belong to Myanmar. Going back to history, most of the ethnic armed groups came into existence after the break-up of the Burmese Communist Party (BCP) in 1989, when China under Deng Xiaoping changed its policy towards Myanmar for establishing a peaceful and friendly environment around China. In fact, some of the Myanmar leaders especially those in the armed forces fought hard battles against the BCP which was backed by the Chinese government for some time.

The Kokangs are ethnic Chinese people living in a strip of land called the Kokang Self-Administered Region under the 2008 Myanmar constitution. Their territory became part of Myanmar (then Burma) when the country was under the British colonial rule. If any anti-Chinese feeling is present among the Myanmar people, the Kokang Chinese could also become the target of hatred and ethnic profiling. However, Myanmar government cannot deny the fact that these people are legally citizens of the country like other ethnic minorities. In addition, Naypyitaw could not gain anything by annoying a powerful neighbour due to ill-treatment of the Kokang Chinese.

The NCCT, which was formed at the first Laiza Conference held in November 2013 in Kachin State, will play a crucial role in shaping the national reconciliation and reform in Myanmar. The Ethnic Armed Organisations' Summit statement at Law Khee Lar conference pointed towards some major amendments to the draft NCA and called for a political solution that is inclusive of all the ethnic groups. This conference that was held from 2 to 9 June 2015 in the Kayin State bordering Thailand, will decide the course of the NCA negotiations and stability along the China-Myanmar border.


* Dr Puyam Rakesh Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on July 05, 2015.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Relief @Kangpokpi & @Senapati: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 07 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Annual Orphanage Visit 2021 at Pune
  • Women's Film Festival @ 3 Districts, Manipur
  • Decision :: Poem
  • Women empowerment through economic..
  • Women empowerment : Nation growth
  • ADCs: Election, not undue delay..
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #19
  • COVID-19 Status 06 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Gaidingmei, Mathanmi, Wungreikhan: eMing
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Budget session & beyond
  • Launch of Cancer OPD Services at Guwahati
  • Less lipstick, more eyeliner
  • Arts Exhibition @ MU #2: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 05 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Women's Film Festival 2021 at MSFDS
  • Totem of natives of North East India #2
  • As I see the world in one page :: Poem
  • AMWJU Meeting Resolutions : 05 March 2021
  • Breaking down silos to look beyond exams
  • Mova Cave @ Hunpung, Ukhrul #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 04 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • PROMYS, a summer program in mathematics
  • Meeting of AMWJU : 05 March 2021
  • Dissecting Bird flu
  • Will Bengal vote for a poroborthon ?
  • Job @ Cobigent Technologies
  • Film : Is it a medium or an art form? #2
  • COVID-19 Status 03 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Emergency Meeting of AMWJU : 04 March
  • Golden Jubilee of Manipuri Cinema
  • Impact of Climate Change in Agriculture
  • Paradigm shift in role of public sector
  • The God Lainingthou Thangching Koylellai
  • COVID-19 Status 02 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • When all goes wrong
  • Are we failing children in the HIV response?
  • Counter-cyclical fiscal policy
  • Where will ST demand stand in next election?
  • Ningtham Kummei: Dance Drama #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 01 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Empowered teachers for local efficiency
  • First step towards regulation of social media
  • Of resignation dramas & disqualifications
  • Today's Manipur as reflected in media
  • Bongbal Kholen, Kpi District #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 28 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Totem of natives of North East India #1
  • 5 days with Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami
  • National Science Day 2021 at Lilong
  • Themes & objectives in National Science Day
  • More teeth to war against drugs
  • Mayang Imphal Keithel #2: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 27 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipur COVID Vaccination Report : 26 Feb
  • March Calendar for Year 2021 : Tools
  • Road from Imphal to Yangkhullen #2: Gallery
  • Best Panel Lawyer, Best DLSA in Manipur
  • Sustainable Agriculture: Key to Food Security
  • Film : Is it a medium or an art form? #1
  • COVID-19 Status 26 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Buyer Seller Meet @ Hotel Imphal: Gallery
  • Job @ Makok Technologies, Keinou
  • Should Meetei belong to Minority or ST #2
  • Colour your hair, limit the damage
  • Medical camp at Lamlaba Village, Tamenglong
  • Japan Lan: Life In Kangla Sangomshang
  • COVID-19 Status 25 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • AMWJU Meeting : Resolutions [Feb 25]
  • Positions @ KIIT-Tech Business Incubator
  • 'Seeding Gampreneurs' transforming villages
  • Orchidarium at IBSD Shillong is reopened
  • Cracking down on 'errant' teachers
  • Chadong Village/Chadong Lake #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 24 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Folktales of Mao Maram & Poumai : Gallery
  • Guwahati Session : World Meetei Convention
  • HIV science has advanced but ...
  • I will rise :: Poem
  • Not the time to let the guards down
  • Journalism is not everybody's cup of tea
  • Foot bridges in Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 23 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • AIFF recognised Andro Girls Team : Gallery
  • Relief @ Songlung, Kangpokpi : Gallery
  • Lecture on medicinal plants at IBSD
  • Jobs @ Neopath Technologies, Imphal
  • Students on the protest path
  • Ignoring the core issues
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #18
  • COVID-19 Status 22 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Implementation: Climate Change : Gallery
  • KAPU Meet: Tribute to Late Benny Khongsai
  • Career options in beauty industry
  • Meet on capacity building on energy efficiency
  • Need to establish cause of death
  • Don't break the bone
  • Shirui Lily Festival 2019 #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 21 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Nakamh-Riangsuanneic - Folklore Film Fest
  • Should Meetei belong to Minority or ST #1
  • Aspergilloma of lung
  • From wetlands to dry lands
  • Ipudhou Pakhangba Puruksoubi #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 20 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Sit-in-protest against bomb threat : Gallery
  • Young Generation and Modernization
  • The Mansion :: Poem
  • Netaji's DNA & INA Moirang
  • Demonstration demanding to cut Price Hike
  • 'Condemn hurling grenade at Governor'
  • Fulfilling the long cherish dream
  • Churachandpur Profile
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn the Manipuri script
  • COVID-19 Status 19 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Paoyi villagers with CM : Gallery
  • Predicament of Journalists & Media Houses
  • A day of stardom for Thoiba Singh at Seoul
  • Lay off hands on the media
  • Smiles of the Emas
  • Cherry Blossom at Mao #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Basak: A dying art form
  • World War II, INA & Manipuri Literature #2
  • Meeting of AMWJU : Resolutions [Feb 18]
  • CM & Governor urged to cut down price hike
  • Union Minister for Social Justice meet CM
  • Seram Neken joins Congress party
  • Snowfall at Shirui, Ukhrul #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 17 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Meitei-Pong Relations & Conquest of Khampat
  • Dying of Yongchak: declare National Disaster
  • Protection of tribal land in Manipur #2
  • Is policing pandemics different... ?
  • Home remedies for winter hair problems
  • Facets of human trafficking in Manipur
  • COVID-19 Status 16 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Road from Imphal to Yangkhullen #1: Gallery
  • Understand prerequisits for ST tag
  • When all goes wrong
  • Centre Head @ JCRE School of Hospitality
  • Khamba Thoibi Jagoi #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 15 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Re-Opening of Ima Keithel : Gallery
  • Emergency Meeting AMWJU: Resolutions
  • ICERME-2021: Intl Conference on SDG-7
  • Law in Motion : Basics of Law
  • Discussion on Koubru Chinggoirol #2
  • COVID-19 Status 14 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • COVID-19 Status 13 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni - Naga Seed Sowing Festival
  • Wung-Hao of Tangkhul & Chinese Counterpart
  • World War II, INA & Manipuri Literature #1
  • 3rd Jump Rope Championship : Result
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #17
  • Book: Manipur-Myanmar connections: Gallery
  • Mushroom training at Tentha Heibung
  • Workshop on GeoGebra at IISER Bhopal
  • Indian Women & Maths annual conference
  • Walking through final lap of my life :: Poem
  • Can BJP strategy win in Tamil Nadu ?
  • Granting minority status to Meitei
  • Snowfall at Shirui, Ukhrul #1 : Gallery
  • Shanti Thokchom's Life Experiences #44
  • Inspection at Kangla & Cheiraoching : Gallery
  • Protection of tribal land in Manipur #1
  • Oxford and Aatmanirbharta
  • Education in Mother Tongue will strengthen
  • Impressive shows from young MLAs
  • If it is for the people...
  • Ipudhou Pakhangba Puruksoubi #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 11 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Relief at Yangkhullen, Senapati: Gallery
  • Restored Wetland : Yaralpat
  • Appeal: WG to monitor crime against women
  • Distress Relief at Yangkhullen, Senapati
  • Sensitization on constitutional obligation
  • ST demand for the Meiteis
  • Democratisation of Education
  • Licypriya in 'Forbes 30 Under 30' List 2021
  • COVID-19 Status 10 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Sushila, Indubala selected for Asian Judo
  • RIST Talk 48 : Microplastic is everywhere
  • Productivity revolution of farmers in Manipur
  • NEC Secretary meeting with CM Manipur
  • Valentine's Day beauty tips
  • College teachers on strike!
  • Are you fooling people of Manipur Mr FM
  • RK Jhalajit's contribution in historiography
  • COVID-19 Status 09 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Keibul Lamjao: today in deplorable state
  • Nadda's hailing 'War On Drugs' Campaign
  • Sachi Gurumayum called on CM
  • She really can be trusted for fiscal prudence
  • Child Marriage: Stigma for a civilized society
  • Fate of hostellers
  • Ema Gi Wari by Imphal Talkies : Review
  • COVID-19 Status 08 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Projects Inauguration - Tamenglong: Gallery
  • Budget: Perspective on Gender Budget
  • NPF meeting with NSCN (K-Niki)
  • Mushroom training program at Nagamapal
  • Solace me, chap ! :: Poem
  • Active cases below 3 figure mark
  • Mother Nature is still unhappy
  • Discussion on Koubru Chinggoirol #1
  • COVID-19 Status 07 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Packaged Organic Product launch : Gallery
  • Naga American announces Scholarship
  • Prize distribution for 9th MANIFA held
  • Range of options to prevent HIV is key
  • Paoyi village setting an example
  • Churachand Maharajgi Imung : Gallery
  • Churachand Maharajgi Imung published
  • Grab the given opportunities
  • A poet :: Poem
  • Supports farmers' movement call
  • Gaan-Ngai @ Iboyaima Shanglen #3 : Gallery
  • Financing burden of lifestyle diseases in NE
  • A budget that lays foundation for growth
  • Sports & Physical Fitness as career choice
  • Volunteers' Meet at Irong Bazar
  • Limping towards the New Normal
  • Is India prepared for Chinese aggression?
  • Re-openning of schools #2 : Gallery
  • Is Compulsive Shopping a Mental Disorder ?
  • Ex-Tempore Competition at Lilong
  • My hundred deaths :: Poem
  • Fragile - Handle with care !
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #16
  • The ring has finally arrived!
  • Study of growing traffic congestion in Imphal
  • World Wetlands Day 2021
  • Bringing Equality for Women in Armed Forces
  • Ima Keithels: Closed since March 21
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni @ Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Understanding panic disorder
  • Life, It is ! :: Poem
  • A pinch of blessing with a tonne of a curse
  • COVID-19 combine to clobber MSME sector
  • Single digit spike of just 4 in last 24 hrs
  • Impact in India after coup in Myanmar
  • Remembering Kuki singer Benny Khongsai
  • Was Netaji really in Manipur ?
  • Environmental impacts of COVID-19 pandemic
  • Memo to CM concerning transportation
  • Gaan-Ngai @ Iboyaima Shanglen #2 : Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai @ Iboyaima Shanglen #1 : Gallery
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • COVID-19 vaccination [Jan 16] #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 vaccination [Jan 16] #1 : Gallery
  • Downloadable Manipuri Calendar :: 2021
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2020 #6: Gallery
  • Sory Wahengbam - Actress Gallery :: eRang
  • 'Zehara' - Manipuri Movie :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS