News / Asia

China Denies Weapons Transfers to Burma's Wa Rebels

VOA News
China's embassy in Rangoon has rejected allegations Chinese weapons were transferred to Burma's ethnic United Wa State Army last year.
Chinese Spokesman Gao Mingbo posted a press release late Sunday on the embassy's website denying any weapons sales or transfers from China to Burma's ethnic armed groups.  

The response was a reaction to a December report by the defense industry think-tank IHS Jane's Intelligence Review, outlining significantly advanced arms transfers to the ethnic rebel group. The report said they included, for the first time, at least 12 armored vehicles referred to as "tank destroyers."

VOA reported on the allegations last week and interviewed security analyst Anthony Davis, who wrote the Jane's report.  
He said the build-up was not intended to cause instability in Burma, but rather to deter Burma's military from attacking the Wa like it is attacking the Kachin Independence Army. He said it also appeared to be a response to China's political setbacks in Burma.
China's statement says the defense think-tank's allegations are ill-founded and misguided.  It says China's policy is to consistently respect Burma's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The statement goes on to disapprove of media reporting on the allegations, saying "misinformed reports" may cause confusion and misperception among the public in Burma and elsewhere.
China's embassy spokesman Gao sent an e-mail to VOA expressing strong disapproval of the report. However, he declined a phone interview on the subject.
Gao said China has always played a constructive role in promoting peace and facilitating dialogue toward resolving the conflict and would continue to do so.
The Wa are Burma's largest ethnic rebel group, estimated at up to 30,000 fighters. It is one of several ethnic militias that formed after the 1989 breakup of the Burmese Communist Party.
Military analysts say that despite its professed policy of non-interference, China has long been the largest supplier of weapons to the Wa, albeit unofficially. Beijing directly supported the communists and maintained relations with the newly formed rebel groups.
Burma signed a cease-fire with the Wa in the 1990s and allowed them to govern their own territory in northeastern Shan state. They turned it into one of Asia's largest methamphetamine production bases and are considered the region's largest drug-dealing organization.

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Comment Sorting
by: Naphetchun MaungSein from: USA
January 29, 2013 7:04 PM
The expatriate Burmese media and their Western sponsors are up to their "misinformation rhetoric and over-dramatization to create misunderstanding" and suspicion between neighboring countries. The new Chinese Communist leadership and the PLA will not allow any such provocative movement of arms to get into the hands of any ethnic group in Myanmar, leave alone the WA, that was once allied with the Burmese Communist Party(BCP) aggressively supported by China for over two decades but ultimately defeated and decimated by the Myanmar military and surviving leaders of BCP still being sheltered to this day in China. That disastrous defeat of their ally BCP and most recently 2009 the Kokang is still fresh and the "immediate denial and denounciation" is clear evidence of reassurance to Myanmar that no such transfers have taken place. Now, even if lower levels have done it, the top leaders will now have to see to it that "all be taken back immediately" and those responsible removed and appropriate punishment meted out. It(China) is not in a position to allow further "rift" with Myanmar. Both countries will not permit such mischief to interfere in their internal affairs and bilateral relations.

Naphetchun MaungSein


by: Kingdom from: Earth
January 28, 2013 9:48 AM
What a Giant Liar!

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