China Demands Border Security Guarantee From Junta

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CASEY HALL and POPPY McPHERSON |

CHINA’s military begins “combat training activities” on its side of the border with Myanmar, a day after a convoy of trucks carrying goods into the neighbouring Southeast Asian nation went up in flames.

The incident which Myanmar state media called an insurgent attack, came amid insecurity concerns in China, whose envoy met top officials in Myanmar’s capital for talks on border stability after recent signs of rare strain in their ties.

■ The PLA’s Southern Theatre Command has not offered details on the duration of the drills, their location or the number of troops involved | 81.cn

The training aims to “test the rapid maneuverability, border sealing and fire strike capabilities of theatre troops,” the Southern Theatre Command, one of five in China’s People’s Liberation Army, said on the WeChat messaging app.

A separate statement released by the provincial government of China’s Yunnan, which neighbours Myanmar, said the drills would run in the areas near Manghai, Manling and Qingshuihe villages.

 

Myanmar state media called an insurgent attack, came amid insecurity concerns in China, whose envoy met top officials in Myanmar’s capital for talks on border stability after recent signs of rare strain in their ties

 

The “real combat training” on the Chinese side of the border, aims to test the “rapid mobilising, border sealing, and fire strike [capabilities]” of the People’s Liberation Army, its Southern Theatre Command said.

“[Our] troops are always prepared to respond to various unexpected situations and are determined to safeguard [China’s] national sovereignty, border stability, and the safety of people’s lives and property,” a spokesman was quoted as saying on the command’s official WeChat social media account.

The brief post did not offer details on how long the drills would last, their exact location or the number of troops involved.

 

Myanmar’s military has lost control of several towns and military outposts in the northeast and elsewhere as it battles the biggest co–ordinated offensive it has faced since seizing power in a 2021 coup

 

The rare joint exercises come amid fears of China’s border security being threatened as a coordinated offensive by northern rebel groups has the Myanmese junta facing its toughest challenge since seizing power in a military coup in 2021.

The drills also come two days after a convoy of trucks carrying goods from China went up in flames at a bilateral trade terminal in Shan, which borders China’s southwestern Yunnan province.

■ Myanmar’s military has suffered a humiliating defeat to Brotherhood Alliance forces in the country’s Shan state | Facebook

In a statement on Friday, the Myanmese information ministry said 120 trucks carrying household, consumer goods and building materials had been destroyed in the “terrorist act” carried out by rebel groups on Thursday morning.

The last time China carried out a live–fire military exercise at the Myanmar border was in March 2017, weeks after at least 30 people were killed in an attack by the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) rebel group in Laukkai, capital of the restive Kokang region in northern Shan state.

The MNDAA is part of the “Three Brotherhood Alliance” in Shan state with two other rebel groups that has taken control of many places in northern Myanmar.

The ministry statement did not offer details on any casualties.

China has urged Myanmar to guarantee safety and stability at the border, with the junta continuing to lose ground since the armed conflict with the rebel groups broke out on October 27.

 

China has urged Myanmar to guarantee safety and stability at the border, with the junta continuing to lose ground since the armed conflict with the rebel groups broke out

 

Beijing was highly concerned about the worsening situation, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said last week, while calling for an end to the fighting as soon as possible.

Her remarks came after the Three Brotherhood Alliance hailed “significant wins” in recent weeks.

The Chinese embassy has also warned citizens against travelling to troubled areas.

The surge fighting has displaced more than 2 million people in Myanmar, the United Nations says. ■

© With Reuters inputs

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