The battle on the Thai-Myanmar trade road; Aftershocks around Mandalay and Sagaing cities

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – December 16 Scenes
MoeMaKa, December 17 2022

The battle on the Thai-Myanmar trade road; Aftershocks around Mandalay and Sagaing cities


A week after the military council forces recaptured the Thay Baw Boe camp on the Thai-Myanmar border last week, KNLA and PDF combined forces attacked a military council battalion near Myawaddy-Kawkareik Asia Road and destroyed the bottom of a bridge with mines. Due to the fighting on the Asia Road near Kawkareik, the Myawaddy-Kawkareik section of the road has been interrupted. Trucks can no longer pass, and only small cars can pass through.


It is believed that KNLA and PDF forces used mines to destroy the bridge, preventing large vehicles from traveling on this important highway, which is also used by the military council to launch attacks on their dominated border areas around Myawaddy in Karen State. The military council is aiming to cripple the KNU, which is giving military training to PDFs in places such as Wale, Thay Baw Boe, and Lay Kay Kaw in Myawaddy District, Karen State, and accepting and supporting the NUG to carry out its activities. There are frequent battles in Karen State’s Myawaddy, Kawkareik, Hpapun, Kyaukgyi, and other areas.


The Thai government will not want the Thai-Myanmar trade route to be affected by the KNU, which has to depend on Thailand to a certain extent. There may be more or less pressure either through the diplomatic route or on the armed groups that are buying food in and out of Thailand.


Recently, the news reported that about 7 military officers from the military council living in Mae Sot, Thailand, who participated in CDM were arrested and investigated by Thai police and the army. Thailand is trying to know everything that is happening in the border town, and when necessary, there is the potential to exert pressure when they need to negotiate with ethnic armed groups and PDFs on the one hand and with the relation of the military council on the other hand.


Since Thailand has a lot of experience with diplomatic tactics between the ruling military junta and trading during the armed conflicts of neighboring countries based on their interests, it is assumed that it will play the same role in the current situation as it did in the past.


Another piece of news for today is the news of aftershocks around Mandalay and Sagaing. Aftershocks of the earthquake that struck at past 3 a.m. on December 15 continued in the early morning and afternoon of December 16. It is said that the aftershocks were as strong as the very first earthquake on December 15. So far, there have been no casualties and only some pagodas have been damaged.


The third piece of news for today is the news that after the House of Representatives (Lower House) first approved the defense law that includes the Burma Act, it was approved by the Upper House (Senate) today. The only thing left is for the President to sign, and it is believed that this will be done soon. This Burmese Act is also the United States’ international defense budget, which includes provisions to provide non-lethal technical humanitarian aid to the NUG, PDF, CRPH, NUCC and ethnic armed groups fighting to topple Myanmar’s military council.


It is still too early to say what kind of adjustments and responses China and India, which have interests in Southeast Asia, will make in response to the United States’ decision on policy of providing limited financial aid in the armed conflict of Myanmar’s political crisis. It is true that it will result in policy changes by China, which competes with the US in more parts of the world than India.


It is true that international assistance is wanted in the armed conflict in Myanmar, but it is necessary to consider the possibility of more powerful countries getting involved. It will also be necessary to be careful not to become a playground for competition between China and the United States.