Myanmar Spring Chronicle – May 02 Scenes
MoeMaKa, May 03 2023
New Chinese Foreign Minister’s visit to Nay Pyi Taw; Padoh Kwe Htoo Win was elected as the new Chair of the KNU
On May 2nd, the day China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang began his 2-day visit to Myanmar, news of his meeting with the Military Council leader Min Aung Hlaing in Nay Pyi Taw was reported in the Military Council newspapers and television. It was his first visit to Myanmar after serving as China’s new foreign minister. The fact that he met with the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on Myanmar, Noeleen Heyzer, in Beijing in the past few days, the fact that he visited the China-Myanmar border city the day before his visit to Myanmar, and the statements of the Chinese Foreign Minister that China stood by Myanmar on the international front are points to be aware of in recent Myanmar affairs.
If you relate to the recent US State Department Counselor Derek Chollet’s statement on his arrival in Singapore that the US could cooperate with China on the Myanmar issue, it is to consider whether China is trying to solve Myanmar’s issue together with ASEAN or through its own approach.
During his meeting with the UN Special Envoy before coming to Myanmar, the Chinese Foreign Minister remarked that it is impossible to resolve the Myanmar issue quickly, and also said that it is necessary to respect the sovereignty of the country. In terms of China’s relations with the Myanmar military, which has seized power, weapons, and strategy, it can exert pressure against the influence of the United Nations and some powerful world countries. It also has a certain degree of influence on the ethnic armed groups that are standing in the border areas with China. In addition, in terms of economic trade, China is an important country for trading partners, investment, profits, and purchasing Myanmar’s natural resources and agricultural products. So, looking at these perspectives, it is difficult for Myanmar to ignore China’s role.
China and the United States have political, economic, and military rivalries in many parts of the world, and it is important for Myanmar not to become a playground for competition between China and the United States.
In the Myanmar crisis, it can be guessed that China will emphasize the stability of the regional strategic landscape more than global competition.
It is understood that China is trying to find a solution to Myanmar’s political problem because, rather than the emergence of a democratic government in Myanmar, it has more interest in stability, economic projects and does not want the escalation of armed conflicts, the influx of refugees into regional countries, arms smuggling, drug production and trade, etc. Since China itself is not a country governed by a democratic system, it is impossible to get any kind of desire or encouragement for Myanmar to develop a democratic system from China.
On the other hand, China is a country that is able to compete with the United States economically not only in the region, but also in the world, and has large military power. So, we should not forget that China is more than an ordinary neighboring country. Currently, it is still difficult to predict what effect China’s step will have on Myanmar’s struggle for democracy and the Spring Revolution.
Another piece of news for today is that the current Vice Chairman Padoh Kwe Htoo Win was elected as the new Chair of the KNU in the KNU’s Congress, which is normally held once every 4 years. If you ask why people are more interested in the news of the election of the KNU’s chairman this time, it is because the KNU has played a key role in protection of the National Unity Government, which chose to take up arms after the military coup and form a parallel government, and providing military training to many People’s Defense Forces. Another factor may be that the change in policy of the KNU organization may have many impacts on the NUG and PDF forces.
Due to the current Vice Chairman Padoh Kwe Htoo Win being elected as the new chair, it can be concluded that there is no prospect of major changes to the current policy. If he is a Karen leader who prefers a military path rather than politics, the fighting in Karen State, Mon State, and Tanintharyi Division may spread more widely.