Myanmar Spring Chronicle – March 17 Scenes
MoeMaKa, March 18 2023
Will China’s role become important in Myanmar affairs?
The Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC), commonly known as the Northern Alliance, held a meeting in Pang Kham in Wa State recently and released a statement dated March 16. It is believed that they are meeting and discussing issues that have been happening in Myanmar since the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020. Representatives from all 7 member groups attended, and in the statement issued after the 2-day meeting, paragraph 6 states, “We welcome and support China’s intervention to end the internal conflicts happening in Myanmar.”
Among the ethnic armed groups that are members of the Northern Alliance, it includes the most powerful Wa group, as well as groups like the KIA, which is currently playing a major role in the armed conflicts in northern Myanmar, and groups like the AA, which is the main force in the armed conflicts in Rakhine State.
Most of the armed groups in this alliance are indigenous armed groups based in regions bordering China that seek help from it regarding issues such as border-based camps, the purchase of weapons and other goods, and the individual security of the leaders. So, it can be said that China has some degree of influence on these ethnic armed groups.
Now, if you look at the reference to “we welcome China’s intervention” in the paragraphs that describe the current situation, it means that China has already intervened in the current Myanmar issue. It can be said that China is intervening in the affairs of Myanmar because it is a powerful country, but from another point of view, China may have an attitude of its right to participate more or less since it is a bordering country and an armed conflict in Myanmar may have an impact on China. Another reason is that China has economic investment interests in Myanmar, such as Kyauk Phyu deep sea port, oil and gas pipeline, and China’s global plan like one belt one road. So, it is definitely a situation where China considers itself a country that is participating in the negotiations or trying to solve the Myanmar issue by using the political influence it has.
China may also be concerned that the United States, which is the leader of the Western bloc, is openly showing diplomatic support to the NUG government in the Myanmar issue. The Myanmar military is showing signs of wanting closer relations with Russia than China, and on the other hand, it needs to deal with both China and Russia to respond to the United States, which is pressuring it. In other words, looking at the two aspects of acquiring arms and standing in diplomatic affairs, it can be predicted that the military council will maintain good relations with Russia and China.
In this situation, most of the Northern Alliance groups have expressed their opinion that they prefer China’s intervention to solve the problem of the United States, and it will be necessary to guess what kind of solution China intends to achieve regarding the Myanmar issue. On the one hand, China is a country based on a one-party system and is involved in domestic resource extraction, so the general public already has an opposing view of China. Cases like Myitsone and rare earth metals are examples.
NUG also needs to have a practical policy regarding China. It is also important to be aware of whether we can try to use the power of an influential country to solve the current problem of Myanmar or, on the other hand, not be placed as a figurehead of the strategy between the US and China, two countries that are opposites in world affairs.
It is interesting to see what the effects of NUG having a close relationship with the United States will be, and what benefits can be achieved if there is a relationship between NUG and the Chinese government that exceeds the level of diplomatic ties between the Communist Party of China and the NLD Party.