Govt Peace Commission, Northern Military Alliance Hold Talks in China

Ethnic armed group representatives reportedly left the four-hour meeting without ‘concrete results.’

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A delegation from the Burmese government’s peace commission and members of the Northern Military Alliance of ethnic armed organizations participated in an informal meeting in Kunming in China’s Yunnan Province on Monday.

Leaders from the Arakan Army (AA), Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) met with the peace commission team. The delegation was headed by vice chairperson U Thein Zaw and included secretary Lt-Gen. Khiin Zaw Oo, member U Aung Soe, advisor U Hla Maung Shwe and deputy minister of the State Counsellor’s Office U Khin Maung Tin.

The meeting reportedly lasted four hours, and was held at Kunming’s World Trade Center.

NMG reached out to leaders of the respective armed organizations, but was unable to obtain comments on the meeting at the time of reporting. According to inside sources based on the Burma-China border, the groups discussed their expectations but did not leave with “concrete results.”

Peace commission representatives reportedly focused on issues related to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA)—to which the Northern Alliance members are not signatories.

AA spokesperson Khaing Thukha told NMG that he had yet to learn details of the meeting from those who attended from the Northern Alliance, which included the AA’s deputy commander-in-chief Col Dr. Nyo Tun Aung, KIO general secretary La Nan, TNLA vice chairperson Tar Jok Jar, and the MNDAA in-charge for external affairs, Lt-Col Phone Win Naing.

Representatives from the United Wa State Army (UWSA), National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) and the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) were present in the meeting as observers.

The peace commission and Northern Alliance members AA, MNDAA and TNLA participated in an informal meeting in early December 2018. After the meeting, the AA, MNDAA and TNLA released a joint statement saying that they wanted the Burma Army to halt military operations before engaging in a political dialogue and the peace process.

The UWSA, KIO, NDAA, SSPP, TNLA, AA, and MNDAA formed the Northern Alliance in May 2015, as well as the Federal Peace Negotiation and Consultative Committee to explore an alternative path to the government’s NCA.