|Ceasefire leader: Changes
get China's blessings
It was clear the latest reshuffle in Burma's top leadership was
affected following the green light by Beijing, said a leader of
a ceasefire groups from northern Shan State yesterday.
"Gen Maung Aye's visit to China (from 17-22 August), I think,
is very indicative," said the 50-year old former resistance
fighter, who requested anonymity. "China, to my knowledge,
has been very much supportive of Gen Khin Nyunt, to the extent of
granting him asylum in their country had things turned out for the
worst in Burma. Any attempt to remove him, I believe , will not
be taken kindly by Beijing."
It means, in practive, that Wa and other former pro-communist rebel
groups that had signed ceasefire with Rangoon, need not concern
about its breakdown at least in the foreseeable future, according
to him. "Gen Khin Nyunt, through his deputy, urged us to maintain
our cooperation with the Burmese military," he said.
The 9 ceasefire groups representatives had not met the all powerful
Military Intelligence chief on the appointed date on Saturday, 16
August, but only his deputy Maj Gen Kyaw Win.
As to the reports of Burmese army's protracted preparations in
the north last month ostensively against the Wa, as China's People's
Liberation Army took up positions along the Sino-Burma border, he
commented without elaboration, "That was Rangoon's signal to
both Bangkok and Washington: The Wa issue could be dealt with not
through Rangoon but through Beijing since Wa are its proteges."
A well-connected businessman in Tachilek also informed that he
noticed nothing irregular in the authorities' conduct of their affairs
following the surprise announcement on Monday, 25 August, that appointed
Gen Khin Nyunt as the new prime minster and Lt-Gen Soe Win as the
ruling military council's new secretary-1 in his place. "Believe
me," he assured S.H.A.N., "the so-called change has taken
place with the sole aim to lure the rest of the world into believing
that from this day on, everything is going to be better. But I'm
sure nothing essentially is going to change."
He added with a laugh: "You may call it old wine in a new
bottle. But, to me, who doesn't like to drink, it's old stew in
a new bowl."
Rangoon's Monday announcement has set tongues wagging as to whether
or not Gen Khin Nyunt's new appointment was essentially a demotion
or a promotion and whether or not it augurs well for the much anticipated
peace and reconciliation process in the strife-torn Burma.