KIO Leaders Meet Chinese Representatives in Laiza

The KIO said that no agreements were reached during the “goodwill visit” by senior officials from China’s Yunnan Province.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Leaders of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and officials from the Chinese province of Yunnan met at the KIO headquarters in Laiza on Thursday to discuss cooperation on regional stability and drug eradication.

The Chinese officials were led by Huo Bao Zhou, the secretary of Yunnan’s anti-drug department. The KIO’s chairman Gen. N’ban La and other high-ranking KIO officials also attended the meeting.

“This was, first of all, a goodwill visit. He [Hou] came to visit his old friends. Secondly, we discussed drug eradication efforts and how we can work together to eliminate drugs in the border area,” Col. Naw Bu, who is in charge of the KIO’s information department, told NMG.

“Thirdly, we discussed regional stability in the border area—for example, how to control our forces and prevent clashes,” Col. Naw Bu added.

According to Col. Naw Bu, no official agreements were reached at the meeting.

“It was just a normal meeting. The KIO didn’t sign any agreements or MOUs. We just welcomed the Chinese officials. That’s all,” he said.

Other issues, such as the ongoing peace process in Burma, were not discussed at the meeting, according to Col. Naw Bu.

According to recent media reports, the Chinese government has been mediating between the Burmese government, the Burma Army, and ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) in northern Burma, including the Arakan Army (AA), which has been active on the western side of the country.

Although the conflict between the AA and the Burma Army in northern Rakhine State and southern Chin State does not affect China’s border security, China is heavily invested in development projects in western Burma, including a gas pipeline and an industrial seaport.

Political analysts say that Chinese special representatives often meet with government leaders, senior Burma Army officers, and leaders of EAOs.

Both the KIO and the AA are non-signatories to Burma’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.