China’s military to hold live-fire exercise on Myanmar border as fighting continues

The People’s Liberation Army last conducted live-fire drills in the area in November – weeks after an alliance of three armed groups began a major offensive against the junta in the Kokang region of Shan state, which borders China.

That exercise took place in another border region and was described as helping the PLA to prepare for “various unexpected situations” and “safeguard border stability”.

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This type of exercise is rare and the previous one was held in March 2017, weeks after at least 30 people died in an attack by the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army on Laukkai, the capital of Kokang region.

That group joined forces with two other rebel groups, the Arakan Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, to form the Three Brotherhood Alliance in 2019. The alliances is now fighting the junta, which overthrew the democratically elected government in February 2021.

In January the alliance gained control of the key town of Laukkai fighting alongside the pro-democracy People’s Defence Force.

Violence since the 2021 coup is estimated to have killed 50,000 people, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, while more than 2 million people have been displaced in the fighting.


‘Our future is fading’: Myanmar youth dodge compulsory military service by fleeing to Thailand

‘Our future is fading’: Myanmar youth dodge compulsory military service by fleeing to Thailand

Foreign vice-minister Sun Weidong visited the country in January to discuss border security and the fight against scammers with the military ruler Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

Liu Jingsong, head of the Asian affairs department at the Chinese foreign ministry, also met the Myanmar ambassador last Tuesday to “exchange views on issues of common concern”.

China has also been trying to broker a ceasefire in Shan state, but the most recent one in January collapsed within 24 hours.


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