Burma Army Attacks Kokang Base on Day of Chinese President’s Visit

Map of Hpawng Seng in Muse township, northern Shan State.

On the day of the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Burma, the Burmese military launched an attack on an ethnic Kokang army base on the Burma-China border, killing one soldier, according to local sources.

The surprise attack by the Burma Army’s Light Infantry Battalion 364—under Light Infantry Division 66—occurred at around 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning. The target was a base belonging to the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) in the Hpawng Seng area of Muse Township, northern Shan State.

The estimated 20 minutes of shooting was carried out by “a convoy of Burmese soldiers who secretly came from an area four hours’ drive away,” a villager told KNG. The convoy allegedly came from the Luyin Htang area in Hpawng Seng. After the attack, the soldiers reportedly left.

“The Burmese authorities announced that gunfire [needed to] stop because of the visit by President Xi Jinping. However, in reality, [the Burmese military] secretly entered the Kokang area by car and opened fire,” a military observer on the Burma-China border told KNG, adding, “This was systematic and intentional.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Naypyidaw on Friday on his first visit to the country in more than 10 years. He is expected to promote Chinese investment in Burma, including projects proposed in conflict areas.

The MNDAA is one of four members of the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed groups, a coalition currently in talks with the government and military around a potential bilateral ceasefire agreement.

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