Bangkok, Nov 9 (EFE).- Myanmar’s military junta, which seized power in a coup in February 2021, said that the country faced a risk of breaking apart due to an offensive by a powerful rebel alliance near the border with China.
A handout photo made available by the Myanmar military information team shows Myanmar military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing (C-L) speaks during the National Defence and Security Council (NDSC) meeting in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, 08 November 2023. EFE-EPA/MYANMAR MILITARY INFO. TEAM/HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
During a meeting of the security council, in which the leader of the military junta, General Min Aung Hlaing, participated, among other leaders of the military regime, Myanmar’s president, Myint Swe, highlighted the importance of the rebel attack, official newspaper The Global New Light of Myanmar, reported Thursday.
“If the government does not effectively manage the incidents happening in the border region, the country will be split into various parts,” Myint Swe said at the meeting, held on Wednesday.
Since the attack, carried out on Oct. 27 by the Brotherhood Alliance – made up of three ethnic guerrillas – in the northeastern Shan state, the rebels have managed to wrest control of several cities near the border with China as well as the main roads and bridges that connect both countries.
Rebels claim that an unknown number of soldiers have been killed in the offensive while the subsequent military response has caused civilian casualties and displaced 33,000 people, according to UN Secretary-General’s spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.
“Such an event can harm relations between Myanmar and China,” Min Aung Hlaing said during the meeting, while accusing the rebels of being engaged in drug production, according to the official media.
The area affected by the offensive in the Kokang region is notorious for hosting casinos and the trafficking of people forced to participate in cyber scams, which has prompted China to ask the Myanmar junta to put an end to these mafias.
After the rebel’s offensive, China – one of the main allies of the military junta – urged Myanmar to cooperate with Beijing to maintain stability on the common border, during the visit to Naypyidaw of a senior Chinese foreign ministry official early November.
The military coup, which ended a decade of democratic transition in the country, plunged Myanmar into a deep political, social and economic crisis.
It has also triggered a spiral of violence, particularly with the emergence of new pro-democracy forces joining hands with ethnic minority militias, exacerbating the country’s decades-long ethnic conflicts. EFE