Tuesday, January 29, 2013

China denies selling weapons to ethnic army in Shan State

China has dismissed as “ill-founded” and “misguided” allegations it sold or delivered weapons to the about 30,000-strong United Wa State Army in Shan State.
"The Chinese government holds a clear and consistent policy of respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Myanmar," its embassy here said in a statement issued on Sunday.
Reports alleging China had sold or transferred weapons to ethnic armed groups in Myanmar are misguided, it said. The media reports are based on an erroneous “report by a western defence think-tank” it said, referring to Janes Intelligence Review, which released a report last month alleging that China’s effort to arm the ethnic army was “unprecedented both in the quantity of munitions and the type of systems delivered”. The report described the alleged arms deal as “highly likely to have stemmed from a high-level decision made in Beijing”.
Weapons the Wa Army received included ground-to-air missiles and 12 tank destroyers, the report stated.
The embassy stressed that China had always given strong support to a peaceful solution to the conflict within Myanmar through dialogue and negotiation by both sides. “China in recent days repeatedly called for an immediate ceasefire and joint efforts to resume peace and stability along the border area,” it said.
“China has persistently played a constructive role in promoting peace and facilitating dialogue towards the resolution of the conflict. We will continue to do so,” the statement added.
The Janes Intelligence Review report alleges that a transfer of Chinese-made PTL02 Wheeled Tank Destroyers was made in the middle of last year. The report’s author, Thailand-based intelligence analyst Anthony Davis, described this as “a significant escalation in the equipment supply to the [Wa army]” from China.

Rising support for the ethnic army coincides with political developments in Myanmar that worry Beijing, primarily increased openness to diplomatic and military ties with the United States

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