The Kachin Post / September 30, 2021
Burma’s coup leader Sr. Gen Ming Aung Hlaing’s recent visit to Myitkyina followed by a proposed visit to Putao in northern Kachin State indicates that a specific agenda is being worked out. These visits are not routine, it means serious business that too under the directions of northern neighbour, China.
Since February 1st military coup, Laiza-Nabang corridor at the Kachin Independence Organization’s (KIO) headquarter has been closed and Chinese-KIO business partnership has been incurring heavy loss. Laiza-Nabang is basically an illegal trade hub. Teak, jade and banana are transported through this corridor only to benefit KIO and Chinese counterparts. Sr. Gen Ming Aung Hlaing knows the strategic importance of Laiza as he has overseen military operations in Kachin and Junta wants control over Laiza.
Ming Aung Hlaing has been to Kachin on numerous occasions but it is the first time he has been booed by Kachins especially by youth. Gen. Ming Aung Hlaing has met Senior Commanders of Northern Command and uncorroborated reports are there that KIA functionaries too met him, perhaps it is the reason KIO is mum over Sr. Gen Ming Aung Hlaing’s recent visit.
In August last week, KIA had issued a statement and announced suspension of operation against Burma Army and expressed readiness for talks. KIO’s move was a surprise for many, but people knew it’s under pressure from the Chinese only. The ground situation contradicts the statement as KIA is fighting along with PDFs in some pockets. It appears that local KIA Commanders are acting on their own and fault lines are seen in KIO too over the stand taken by leadership in the last few months. It seems KIO is much concerned about its own existence and survival rather than the cause or concern of Kachins.
Air strikes by Burma’s Air Force targeting KIA bases using Chinese air space was a strategic move and Kachins were taken by surprise. SAC nominated Chief Minister for the Kachin State, Hkyet Hting Nan, is Sr. Gen Ming Aung Hlaing’s loyalist and he will execute his master’s order with all dedication, and ignoring the sentiments of his Kachin fellows.
Chinese state enterprises have invested heavily in Kachin so they want Kachin to remain a conflict free and reason is business and completion of much awaited Myitsone dam, the development of Hpakan Mining area, and Special Economic Zone at Kampaiti lies in Zahkung Ting Ying led Border Guard Force supported by Junta, so hurdles can be overcome but Myitsone remains a concern.
Other alarming military development and reinforcement of Northern Command is believed to be specifically targeted for the KIO’s armed wing Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which has been giving shelter for anti-junta pro-democracy personnel from towns and cities across the country. The People Defense Force (PDF) Kachin Regoin is mostly equipped with KIA ammunition, and launched sporadic attacks against Burma Army in Kachin State and Sagaing Region.
The recent Burma Amry’s strategic move to clip the feathers of KIA before another Wa region is created in Northern Burma. Junta also knows if KIO collapses, most of Burma’s resistance forces will concede. KIO has not many options to finalize strategic war for Kachin Independence by upgrading the current situation of survival mode.