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China Wants KIO To End Border Clashes During Olympics

Col. Nhpang Baw Bu at Laiza, Kachin State. File photo/Kachin News Group

After China asked ethnic armed groups along the Burmese border to stop fighting during the 2022 Winter Olympics and Lunar New Year in February and the 2022 Winter Paralympics in March, the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), whose armed wing, the Kachin Independence Army, is fighting the regime, agreed in principle but also issued a statement outlining its concerns. KNG spoke to KIO spokesperson Col Naw Bu to learn more about why it might be difficult to comply with China’s request given the current political situation, one year after the military overthrew the democratic government.

Please explain the reasons for releasing your statement.

The first reason is this year of the military coup d’etat in Burma. Secondly, China will host the 13th Winter Olympics and Chinese New Year is just around the corner. The Chinese government has asked us to stop all fighting along the border during the New Year (and Winter Olympics). Thirdly, peace is here for all. After clarifying all these issues, we’ve issued this statement.

In the statement, the KIO writes that the country will suffer even more if the current political crisis isn’t resolved soon. What does the KIO want from the military junta?

The military is responsible for solving all the problems in Burma. The regime has declared that 2022 is a year of peace, but that will be impossible if the armed conflict continues. Therefore, I think the military regime should change its way of thinking. We believe that the problems must be solved on the basis of justice. The regime must take into account the wishes of the people and the ethnic groups. If they cannot solve the political crisis, everyone in the country will experience more difficulties and suffering.

China has demanded that there be no clashes in the border region, but what’ll happen if the Burma Army launches an offensive against the KIO?

If the enemy rushes towards us, we have to defend ourselves. Although we don’t want clashes, they’ll happen if they enter our territory.

Does the KIO want to say anything else to the people of Burma?

At this time when we’re all on the path of revolution, we must all remain patient and continue to work hard because we have not yet reached our goal. I’d like to say: don’t give up and let’s all work together. The KIO is closely watching how the political situation is developing in the country. If people want to propose something to us, they need not hesitate. We want people’s support and participation. Let’s try together to achieve our goals.

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