Dec 8, 2008 (DVB), Chinese authorities have begun to erect walls along the border with Burma near the Kachin Independence Organisation-controlled area in Laiza, north-east Burma, according to local residents.
The construction project started in the last week of November as Chinese workers and machines began digging along a border stream.
"In some places, they have already started laying bricks and digging the ground," a local resident said.
"In some places, it is as high as a person."
The decision to clearly demarcate and strengthen the border had been discussed at coordination meetings, and sources close to the KIO said the Chinese authorities met the Northern Command military security force and KIO executive committee member Dr La Ja on 2 December.Fences and iron posts have also been erected in the Shweli-Kyegaung area, locals said.
Some residents said that the fences had been put up on the orders of the Yunan state narcotics elimination commission, but a resident of Laiza said there appeared to be other motives.
"I think it is about more than the elimination of narcotics," the resident said.
"Fencing like this would not stop that."
Military analyst Aung Kyaw Zaw, who is based on the border, said the construction of the walls could be a precautionary measure in anticipation of activities by armed groups in the area in the run-up to the 2010 election.
"It is a way of putting pressure on the KIO," Aung Kyaw Zaw said.
"This is clear because they are erecting the walls where the Pan Wa and Kan Paik ethnic armed groups are based."
Aung Kyaw Zaw also speculated that the reinforced borders could be linked to the construction of gas pipelines to China, which is due to start in 2009.
Reporting by Nan Kham Kaew