News / Asia

Burma Clashes Raise Concern of Spreading Conflict

Daniel Schearf

Fighting in northeast Burma between the army and ethnic Kachin rebels has spilled over into neighboring Shan state, raising concerns about the conflict spreading. Thousands of villagers have fled to the border with China, which is urging restraint from both sides.

Sporadic clashes continued Thursday between Burma's army and ethnic Kachin rebels near a mountainous border with China.

The fighting in northern Kachin state, which started a week ago, has spilled into neighboring Shan state, home to the ethnic Shan.

The Shan Herald, an exiled media group based in Thailand, reported that Wafive Burma army battalions were moving in on another rebel group, the Shan State Army.

The spreading fight raises concerns that the conflict could quickly get out of control.

Khuensai Jaiyen, editor for the Shan Herald, says if other ethnic rebels join the fight it could become a larger war. He says ethnic leaders are hoping that Beijing will intervene to stop the fighting before it gets worse.

"They think that China has a lot of stake in the security and stability of the border," said Khuensai.  "Even Beijing had said so since the Burma army attacked Kokang, another ethnic group, in 2009."

The fighting two years ago between the Burmese army and Kokang rebels sent thousands of villagers fleeing into China. The instability prompted Beijing to issue a rare criticism of the government of Burma, a close ally.

The latest fighting broke out in a region where China is building hydropower plants. It is not clear what sparked the clashes. Khuensai says fighting began when Burma sent soldiers to ensure security at the plants while other reports say a prisoner exchange between the two sides went bad.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Thursday said Beijing is concerned about the fighting.

He says they are following the situation along the border closely and urge all parties to exert calmness and restraint to avoid escalating the situation and to resolve their differences through negotiation.

The clashes in Kachin state this past week also sent thousands of villagers toward China, but reports say Chinese authorities stopped most of them at the border.

Hong denies China is blocking those fleeing the fighting.

The Washington-based rights group U.S. Campaign for Burma says several soldiers were killed in the fighting.

Burma's government has not issued any official comments on the clashes and it is almost impossible to confirm the details as the area is remote and journalists are not allowed to visit.

The Kachin Independence Army, like several other ethnic militias, signed cease-fire agreements with Burmese authorities in the 1990s, ending years of fighting for independence.

But some hostilities resumed in 2009 when the military began pressuring groups to come under their authority as a border protection force.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid