Monday, January 28, 2013

China denies equipping Wa army

Monday, 28 January 2013 00:00 Mizzima News

The Chinese Embassy in Rangoon has rejected recent media reports that it was involved in supplying weapons, including armored vehicles, to the Wa guerrillas in northern Burma.

Citing a December report in Jane's Intelligence Review, several international news outlets, including Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) and Voice of America (VOA), reported last week that despite calling for as ceasefire in the conflict between Burma’s government forces and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in northern Burma, Beijing was equipping another ethnic militia, the United Wa State Army (UWSA).   

“While Burma's military steps up battles against Kachin rebels along the border with China, security analysts say Beijing has been quietly selling advanced weapons to another insurgent group on its border, the United Wa State Army,” wrote Daniel Schearf in a January 25 report for VOA.

Citing Jane’s, he said that last year China provided the Wa with advanced weapons to build up their defenses. The transfers reportedly included surface-to-air missiles and, for the first time, at least 12 armored vehicles thought to be PTL02 Wheeled Tank Destroyers.

Writing for DVB on January 21, Thailand-based journalist Francis Wade suggested Beijing may be using the 30,000-strong UWSA as a source of leverage while the Burmese government develops stronger ties with the US.

However, according to Gao Mingbo, the spokesman for China’s Embassy in Burma, the allegations are “ill-founded and misguided.”

In a statement on January 27, he said, “The Chinese Government holds a clear and consistent policy of respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Myanmar.

“ … China has persistently played a constructive role in promoting peace and facilitating dialogue towards the resolution of the conflict. We will continue to do so,” he said.
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