Myanmar junta’s secret deal with China

Photo courtesy of Thai PBS World

Myanmar’s junta is stirring up a storm yet again, as their home minister jets off to China for clandestine security discussions with Beijing’s top brass.

Myanmar’s Lieutenant-General Yar Pyae slipped under the radar, embarking on a covert voyage to China for what’s touted as a working visit with China’s Minister for Public Security, Wang Xiaohong. The rendezvous, scheduled from April 24 to 29, raises eyebrows as it’s shrouded in secrecy, as reported by the Global New Light of Myanmar.

While details remain murky, whispers suggest the talks revolve around tightening the screws on law enforcement and beefing up security cooperation. The junta’s cosy relationship with Beijing, a long-standing ally and arms purveyor, has recently hit rocky shores. The rift stems from the proliferation of online scam havens along Myanmar’s borders, manned by a multinational workforce often coerced into fleecing their kin.

China’s patience wore thin over Myanmar’s lax stance on the scam epidemic, particularly in northern Shan state, where illicit gains soar into the billions annually. Analysts speculate that last year’s lightning incursion by ethnic militias, endorsed tacitly by China, was a sharp jab at the junta’s inaction.

To contain the burgeoning crisis, a joint crackdown has ensnared tens of thousands, shipping them back to China, including kingpins of the scam syndicates. However, a recent report from the United States Institute of Peace unveils a troubling twist: the majority of these nefarious networks have migrated to Karen State along the Thai border, finding refuge amidst local militia ranks, reported Thai PBS World.

With the hub of Myawaddy now a hotspot for these shadowy operations, analysts warn that the nexus could commandeer thousands of fighters, escalating the stakes in this clandestine conflict.

In related news, Thailand has proposed a collaboration between three or more ASEAN member nations to engage with Myanmar’s military junta, to mitigate the crisis and restore peace in the conflict-stricken country. The nation maintained its commitment to extend humanitarian assistance and foster peace amid the turmoil.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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