KSPP Calls on US to Strengthen Presence in Kachin State

A Kachin political party representative has asked that the US open an official liaison office in Kachin State since China has done the same.

The proposal by the Kachin State People’s Party (KSPP) was directed to US Ambassador Scot Marciel during his visit to the Kachin State capital of Myitkyina on November 13, when he met with the party leaders.

“I repeated my request to open a relations office in Kachin State with initial programs like a cultural exchange and education,” Duwa Gumgrawng Awng Hkam, the vice-chairperson of KSPP, told KNG.

He added that he had made the same request a year ago, when China’s own liaison office opened quietly in March 2018. The move led to local concern that Chinese interests would grow more influential in Kachin politics, economics, and environmental issues.

Ambassador Marciel told political party representatives that the Kachin people continue to be “allies” of the US, according to the KSPP, and that he was committed to building and improving the relationship.

The political relationship between the US and the Kachin was largely forged during World War II, during which Kachin rangers assisted the Allied Forces in fighting the Japanese in Burma. Kachin forces were integral in the rescue of more than 500 allied airmen trapped in a Japanese-occupied area of northern Burma.

The KSPP is the amalgamation of three Kachin parties: the Kachin State Democracy Party (KSDP), the Kachin Democratic Party (KDP), and the Unity Democracy Party of Kachin State (UDPKS). It formed late last year and was approved by the Union Election Commission in June. They plan to run in the upcoming 2020 elections in Burma.

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