News / Asia

US 'Deeply Concerned' About Burma Fighting

In this photo taken on Monday, Feb. 13, 2012, recruits of the Kachin Independence Army, one of the country's largest armed ethnic groups, receive training from a female instructor, left,  at a military camp near Laiza.
In this photo taken on Monday, Feb. 13, 2012, recruits of the Kachin Independence Army, one of the country's largest armed ethnic groups, receive training from a female instructor, left, at a military camp near Laiza.
VOA News
The United States is "deeply concerned" by ongoing violence in Burma's Kachin state, where fighting continues between the army and rebel groups despite a cease-fire.

A statement from the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon Thursday said the Burmese army is continuing its offensive in the northeastern state. It cited media and NGO reports, and added that the offensive has resulted in civilian casualties and is undermining efforts to achieve national reconciliation.

A spokesperson for President Thein Sein later told VOA the U.S. Embassy statement was unbalanced, and did not mention what he said were attacks by Kachin rebels on both government and civilian targets.

"We understand the U.S. government concern for the situation in KI [Kachin] state, but to be fair, they have to point out all the action and incidents taken by both sides," spokesperson Ye Htut said. "This is not fair to put all the blame on the government side."

The government declared a unilateral cease-fire to take effect on Saturday. But sporadic fighting has continued. Eyewitnesses and rebel officials tell VOA that Burmese soldiers used the brief lull in hostilities to advance on rebel positions.

In a speech in Rangoon Sunday, Thein Sein said government forces are within an "arm's length" of the main Kachin Independence Army base in the town of Laiza, on the border with China. 

He said he has ordered troops not to attack the base as a show of good will, and he called for the KIA to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible.

The embassy statement Thursday urged both sides to "take all necessary steps to create an atmosphere for dialogue." It also called on Burma to allow "unhindered access" to those in need of assistance from the U.N. and international aid agencies.

Burmese troops and Kachin rebels have been fighting since 2011, when a 17-year cease-fire broke down.  It is the last active civil war in Burma. Other ethnic groups have signed peace deals with the government.

The fighting in Kachin state has displaced tens of thousands of people and overshadowed major political reforms introduced since Burma ended decades of military rule in 2011.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid