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Chinese military holds live-fire exercises near Burma border

China announced that its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is conducting live-fire combat drills on its side of the border with Burma on Tuesday. The South China Morning Post reported that it will occur in the Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan Province near its border with Kachin State in northern Burma. 

“The troops of [the] PLA Southern Theater Command are always ready to deal with various emergencies, and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, border stability, as well as the safety of people’s lives and property,” said Tian Junli, a PLA spokesperson. 

The drills come as the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Burma Army continue to clash near the border with China in Kachin State. The KIA seized the border town of Loije (Lwegel) on Friday. 

Regime media reported that China’s’ Special Envoy for Asian Affairs Deng Xijun, and other Chinese officials, met with Min Aung Hlaing in Naypyidaw on Monday. They reportedly discussed peace talks with Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) to ensure “stability” in Burma, especially along the China-Burma border.

The KIA launched its offensive against the Burma Army in Kachin State on March 7. Stray shells and explosions have reportedly landed and occurred in China since the offensive began last month. A Chinese citizen was killed in November after shells landed in China during airstrikes on the KIA headquarters of Laiza, which is located near the border.

Fighting along the China-Burma border, in northern Shan State, has escalated since the Brotherhood Alliance – which consists of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), and Arakan Army (AA) – launched Operation 1027 on Oct. 27. 

The MNDAA and TNLA took control of over 300 military outposts and 30 towns along Burma’s border with China during the operation, which had the tacit approval of China. Beijing brokered a ceasefire between the Brotherhood Alliance and the Burma Army in Kunming, China on Jan. 11.

Ties between China and the military regime in Burma have been strained since the 2021 coup. The International Crisis Group (ICG) released a report stating that Beijing has yet to normalize relations with Naypyidaw since a regime was installed in 2021 to replace Aung San Suu Kyi’s ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) government. China has also yet to recognize Min Aung Hlaing as Burma’s head of state.


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