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Crisis Group report on China-Burma ties since the military coup; Arakan Army welcomes foreign investors

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Crisis Group report on China-Burma ties since the military coup

A report released by the International Crisis Group (ICG) today stated that Beijing has yet to normalize relations with the military since the 2021 coup. It adds that China refuses to recognize Min Aung Hlaing as Burma’s head of state and gave its tacit approval for the Brotherhood Alliance to launch Operation 1027 in northern Shan State.

“Beijing’s dissatisfaction with the junta provides opportunities for international consensus-building and room for greater scrutiny of the generals, including by the U.N. Security Council,” said Richard Horsey, the Senior Myanmar Advisor at ICG.

Beijing brokered a ceasefire between the military and Brotherhood Alliance members, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), on Jan. 11. Since Oct. 27, more than 30 towns came under its control and more than 5,500 military personnel were either killed or captured, including 10 brigadier generals. 

Arakan Army welcomes foreign investors

The Arakan Army (AA) stated on Monday that it welcomes foreign investments in its territory that “mutually benefit and support regional development.” It promised to provide “full protection and security” for investors. 

“Many Arakanese are being displaced due to the ongoing clashes. We are also facing high commodity prices and scarcity of resources for job opportunities. The state needs reconstruction and the resumption of its economy to begin,” said an unnamed Arakan State resident. 

The AA now controls eight townships in Arakan and Paletwa Township in southern Chinland. It has begun to clear landmines, return Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their homes and resume economic activity. China and India maintain investments in Arakan State, including the deep sea port and special economic zone in Kyaukphyu Township.

An uncertain future for Aung San Suu Kyi’s home

The fate of Aung San Suu Kyi’s home at 54 University Avenue in Yangon will be determined by a military-run court, say legal experts. Aung San Suu Kyi and her brother Aung San Oo have had a long-running legal dispute over ownership of the home. 

An auction organized by the regime for the famed lakeside villa was postponed after it failed to draw any bidders at the predetermined starting price of $90 million USD on March 20.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team has filed a revision with the Yangon Region High Court regarding the auction proceedings. Legal experts stress that the court’s decision will determine whether the property will be put up for auction again and if the process will comply with legal procedures.

News by Region

Protesters demonstrate to demand the release of Kyaw Soe Oo outside of the Zabuthiri Police Station in Naypyidaw on Monday. (Credit: CJ)

NAYPYIDAW—Kyaw Soe Oo, the editor-in-chief of pro-military outlet People Media, was released on bail from Zabuthiri Police Station on March 25. He was released after a demonstration was held outside the police station. 

“The protestors said they might swing sides if the military hadn’t released him. He was freed that evening,” said an unnamed military supporter in Naypyidaw. Kyaw Soe Oo was arrested on March 19 and charged with incitement for criticizing the Ministry of Home Affairs. 

KAREN—A group calling itself the Mon Liberation Army and other resistance groups seized control of a police station in Kawkareik Township on Monday. A spokesperson of the group told DVB that two Burma Army soldiers were killed during the fighting and 23 others surrendered. 

“We are going to fight and attack territories where the Burma Army is located,” Naing Mar Nag, the secretary of the Mon Liberation Army, told DVB. The military fired artillery and carried out eight airstrikes on Kawkareik during the fighting.

KACHIN—Momauk Township residents said that a man was killed and two children were injured by artillery fired by the Burma Army in a village on Monday. “The artillery fell while they were trying to escape from their house,” a Momauk resident told DVB. The man died from head injuries and the children’s legs were seriously injured. 

KARENNI—The Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) stated that fighting with the Burma Army over control of Loikaw has continued . Resistance forces claim to control nearly 90 percent of the town. The Burma Army has sent in reinforcements. 

“Battles are happening every day in Loikaw. Resistance forces currently control many neighborhoods, clashing with Burma Army troops that are attempting to regain lost ground,” said a KNDF spokesperson. Five towns in Karenni and one in southern Shan State are under its control. 

SHAN—The MNDAA has not been allowing ethnic Bamar to return to Laukkai, in the Kokang Self-Administered Zone, since it took control of the town on Jan. 4, reported Doh Athan. A Laukkai resident said that MNDAA soldiers told her that Bamar were not allowed back. 

The MNDAA also reportedly destroyed buildings in a predominantly Bamar neighborhood of Laukkai. Residents of the town have also said that the MNDAA has seized homes rented out to Bamar but have denied that it discriminates based on ethnicity. 

SAGAING—Shwebo Township residents said that the regime suspended military conscription in the town after two administration officials were killed on March 22 and 24. The People’s Defense Force (PDF) had warned administrators to cease the conscription drive. 

“They were arrested by the PDF at their homes. Even the military cannot do anything,” a resident told DVB. Sixteen administrators have been killed while recruiting new conscripts across the country this month, according to DVB data. The military conscription law was activated on Feb. 10. 

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