China Is Playing Peacemaker in Myanmar, but with an Ulterior Motive - By Doug Bock Clark & Corey Pattison
Beijing is trying to end the long-running conflicts along its border with Myanmar — but only because it can't exploit the region's resources at will anymore.
KACHIN STATE, Myanmar — In early March, Myanmar’s government sat down with a coalition of ethnic rebel groups, including the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), trying to jump-start peace negotiations that had sputtered out after months of escalating fighting. The meeting had been brokered by China, keen to quell the conflict along its southwestern border.
The Kachin are an ethnic group of about a million people with their own eponymous province, Kachin State, in northern Myanmar. Ever since a coup brought a junta led by the nation’s ethnic majority Burmese to power in 1962, the Kachin have been fighting for independence as part of a constellation of conflicts that observers have called “the world’s longest-running civil war.” The KIA is no paltry guerrilla band — it has about 10,000 men and controls much of the Myanmar-China border — and the fighting has been intense. During the past six years, the conflict has displaced more than 100,000 people, and the military has committed widespread human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, rape, and torture. With refugees spilling across the border, Beijing has repeatedly emphasized the need for peace...
Doug Bock Clark, Corey Pattison