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“Ceasefire” between junta and armed groups in northern Myanmar

France Media Agency Ta'ang National Liberation Army fighters stand guard near a temple in northern Shan State, northern Myanmar, December 13, 2023.

France Media Agency in Rangoon

9:45 a.m.

  • Asia

The military in power in Myanmar and three armed groups announced on Friday that they had reached a ceasefire agreement, facilitated by Beijing, in the north of the country plagued by deadly clashes constituting the most serious threat to the junta since its 2021 coup.

“Thanks to Chinese mediation, a meeting was held in Kunming (in China, Editor’s note). We have reached a ceasefire agreement,” Zaw Min Tun, the junta’s spokesperson, told AFP.

“We have agreed to reopen border trade” with China, Tar Bhone Kyaw of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) told AFP.

Since October, an alliance of several insurgent movements representing ethnic minorities has launched a major offensive against the army, in regions close to the Chinese border. The fighting left hundreds dead and more than half a million displaced.

The alliance seized several cities and border crossings vital to trade with China in what analysts say is the biggest military challenge to the junta since its coup in 2021.

Beijing also announced the ceasefire, but no details have filtered out concerning the geographical area concerned or the moment of its entry into force.

“The two parties agreed to an immediate ceasefire, a disengagement of military personnel and a resolution of disputes […] through peaceful negotiations,” said a diplomatic spokesperson. Chinese, Mao Ning.

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Mediation from China

The talks took place Wednesday and Thursday in Kunming, a large city close to Burma, Mao Ning confirmed.

Relations between China and the junta have been damaged in recent months by the inability of the Myanmar military to crack down on online scams targeting Chinese victims from Myanmar, and particularly from the town of Laukkai.

Close to the border, this locality is a stronghold of gambling, prostitution and online fraud carried out from complexes employing thousands of people, many of whom are victims of human trafficking.

Held by a militia allied with the Burmese army, Laukkai has, since November, been emptied of its inhabitants, before the alliance of insurgents – composed of the Army of the National Democratic Alliance of Myanmar (MNDAA), the Arakan Army (AA) and the Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) — announced last week the capture of the city, an important victory and a hard blow for the junta.

In December, China had already announced a “provisional” ceasefire between the belligerents.

But clashes continued in parts of Shan State in the north, and the Chinese embassy asked its nationals to evacuate an area along the shared border due to security risks.

Last week, Beijing raised its voice after the Myanmar conflict spilled over into its territory, causing casualties on the Chinese side. Several local media reported that an artillery shell fired from Myanmar had landed in Chinese territory and exploded. Beijing expressed its “strong dissatisfaction” and said it wanted to take “all necessary measures” to protect its nationals.

The ceasefire agreement thus provides that “the two parties undertake not to compromise the security of Chinese people living near the border as well as Chinese personnel in Myanmar”, according to the Chinese spokesperson.

“Maintaining the momentum of the ceasefire and peace talks in northern Myanmar is in the interests of all parties in Myanmar, and also contributes to maintaining peace and stability in the border,” she added.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116