The military council’s tacit approval of anti-Chinese protests; NUG seizes 44 billion kyats from private banks

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – November 30

MoeMaKa, December 01, 2023

The military council’s tacit approval of anti-Chinese protests; NUG seizes 44 billion kyats from private banks

Over a month has passed since the initiation of Operation 1027 in northern Shan State at the end of October. During this time, questions have arisen regarding the extent of China’s involvement in the operation and its knowledge of the events. Notably, the military council has allowed nationalist extremists and supporters of the USDP Party to stage anti-China demonstrations. This leniency indicates the military council’s dissatisfaction with China’s role in the ongoing operations.

During the SAC 6/2023 meeting on November 29, Military Leader Min Aung Hlaing hinted at the use of approximately 25,000 drone bombs in the Kokang region and northern Shan State conflicts. While China was not explicitly mentioned, the reference suggests the involvement of China in providing technology and training experts for these drone bombs.

It is evident that the military council has contemplated China’s technical and weapon assistance in recent offensives in northern Shan State. In line with previous agreements, Chinese naval ships have arrived in Yangon for joint military training.

China, not practicing a democratic system itself, prioritizes economic and security interests regardless of whether Myanmar is governed by a dictator or a democratically elected government. The key for China is to prevent Myanmar from becoming a proxy country for other powerful nations, including the United States, Russia, and India. Stability and the absence of large-scale wars in the neighboring country are crucial considerations for China, irrespective of its political system.

China is carefully monitoring the military council’s close ties with Russia in diplomatic, military, and economic aspects following the coup. It is reasonable to assume that China is delivering diplomatic lessons to Myanmar’s military leaders, although the extent and cost of these lessons remain uncertain.

Another noteworthy development is the seizure of 44 billion kyats from private banks by NUG forces when Kawlin was captured. This follows the earlier announcement of 960 million kyats seized from the state-owned Myanmar Economic Bank. Private banks affected include Kanbawza Bank, Ayeyarwady Bank, Myanma Apex Bank, Global Treasure Bank, and Tun Foundation Bank. The seized funds from private banks will be designated as a Federal Reserve fund and managed accordingly, according to the NUG Interim Central Bank’s statement on November 30.

The fate of the bank account owners in Kawlin who deposited in these private banks remains uncertain. The National Unity Government bears the responsibility to safeguard and clarify the legal framework defining the Union’s treasury to prevent similar confiscations in other cities, ensuring the protection of private bank account holders from negative impacts and worrisome consequences.